The Bloody Mary

Franck Fernandez – translator, interpreter, philologist

Tomato is a fruit native to Aztec lands and its name comes from Nahuatl ‘tomatl”, which passed to the rest of the languages in more or less likewise, except in Italian, which is “pomodoro”. This has a logical explanation: the first tomato varieties that arrived in Europe were yellow and for Italians it was like “a golden apple”. From Italian it went to Russian as “pomidor”.

Tomato is a fruit that almost everyone likes; it is rich in vitamin C and in a product called lycopene that is very useful for the good maintenance of the prostate in men from the age of 40. Lycopene is preserved whatever the form of presentation of the tomato, from the ketchup to a tomato juice or a sauce cooked over spaghetti. Another of the uses of tomato is in the famous Bloody Mary cocktail.

Regarding the origin of the cocktail, everything suggests that it was created by Fernand Petiot, bartender at the bar “Harry’s of New York” in the city of Paris (5 rue Daunou, Paris 2nd district). Its red color led it to be called Queen Mary I of England, who was the third woman to reign in England, daughter of Catherine of Aragon (in turn daughter of the Very Catholic Kings of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella) and of Henry VIII. It is known that Henry VIII, out of love for Anne Boleyn and because Catherine could not give him a male heir, repudiated his wife by taking her away to a castle. He wanted a divorce, but in the face of the Vatican’s refusal to allow this divorce, Henry VIII declared himself a representative of the Anglican Church in contempt of Rome. Mary, her daughter with Catherine, was an unhappy girl due to the separation of her parents and the seclusion of her mother. At the death of Henry VIII, his son Eduardo VI succeeded him on the throne, and Mary in turn succeeded him.

Mary, as a good daughter of a Spanish Catholic, professed Catholicism and declared an intense fight against those who had accepted the new Anglican religion. When she came to power, she also took revenge on all those who, in some way, facilitated the divorce of his mother from the king and, for these reasons, led hundreds of opponents and enemies to the stake as heretics. This earned her the name of Bloody Mary (Bloody Mary).

Later, the cocktail was picked up in the “Red Snapper” bar of the Saint Regis hotel in New York and the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway helped its worldwide spread. Hemingway, like a whole stars of great American intellectuals and artists, lived in Paris in the 1920s in favor of an overvalued dollar against the French franc because of the recent World War.

Later the German invasion of France came and Paris was liberated in August 1944 when the American troops, under the command of General Patton, and the French troops, under the command of General Leclerc, entered Paris to liberate it from German occupation. Hemingway, who was an American Army officer, and Marlene Dietrich, who was also an American Army officer despite being a pure lineage Berliner, ran to the bar of the Ritz Hotel to free it from the German occupant. This is extremely nice to me. It was Marlene who gave him the famous nickname by which everyone knew Hemingway: “Papa”.

I enclose the recipe for a good Bloody Mary cocktail from the internet.


3 tablespoons vodka, 6 tablespoons tomato juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 3-4 ice cubes.


Prepare the glass with the ice, pour the vodka, add the lemon, season with the salt and pepper, add the sauce and Tabasco, fill with the tomato juice, garnish with celery and serve.

To be consumed in moderation.

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