A Bloody Mary is a cocktail containing vodka and tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery or celery salt, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. Many bartenders jealously guard secret recipes for the drink. It is usually garnished with a celery stick and green olives, and is served in a tall glass often over ice.
Bartender Fernand Petiot of Harry's New York Bar in Paris claims to have invented the drink sometime during the 1920s. Says Petiot, "One of the boys suggested we call the drink 'Bloody Mary' because it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary."
Petiot moved from the New York Bar to its namesake, the City of New York, in 1934, where he worked at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel. The hotel unsuccessfully tried to rename the drink to the "Red Snapper". To suit New Yorker tastes, he added spices that were not in his original recipe, including black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce.
If the drink is served without the vodka, it is called a Virgin Mary.
In folklore, Bloody Mary is the name of a children's game in which a ghost or witch of the same name (or sometimes other names, such as Mary Worth) is said to appear in a mirror when summoned. To invoke her spectre, you must stand before the mirror and repeat her name three (or seven) times. Bloody Mary Worth is often believed to be the spirit of a mother who murdered her children, or a woman who was murdered shortly before or after her wedding. The legend was used, in a different form, in the movie Candyman.
In some versions of the legend, the summoner must say "Bloody Mary, I got your baby" (or "I killed your baby"). This may in fact relate to Queen Mary I of England, who suffered a miscarriage and was devastated by the event.
Compare La Llorona.