17 Variations on the Bloody Mary

Leave behind the watered-down Clamato mix and vodka, and whip up a Bloody Mary you'll not soon forget
Learn how to make a mean Bloody Mary.

It's probably no coincidence that National Bloody Mary Day falls on January 1 — the beginning of a new year and possibly the continuation of hangovers from libations the night before. There's no better excuse than a day off of work (and a pounding headache) to whip up a Bloody Mary. 

Click here to see 17 Variations on the Bloody Mary Slideshow

The history of the Bloody Mary isn't clear; some say that American bartender Fernand Petiot created the vodka cocktail at Harry's New York Bar in Paris back in the 1920s. That's a bit more plausible than another piece of folklore, that the Bloody Mary dates back to the reign of Queen Mary I of England in the mid-1550s —and is a tribute to her "violent and ruthless nature," writes the blogger behind Kitchen Talks. We'd rather prefer to think of our Bloody Mary not as a "blood bath."

Still, the Bloody Mary isn't appealing to everyone; as many can attest, some are turned off by a watered-down tomato juice mix and the strong burn of vodka. Which is why we're proud to see bars and restaurants from coast to coast mixing up new variations of the Bloody Mary. We've seen Asian-influenced Bloody Marys, with wasabi and Sriracha, Mexican-influenced Bloody Marys with mezcal and habañeros, and original Bloody Marys taken to the next level. Case example: the Epic Bloody Mary at Chicago's Dragon Ranch. This Bloody is made with moonshine, Fris vodka, Guinness, and Bloody Mary mix, but the true glory comes from its not one, but 10 garnishes. These includes beef jerky, a pork belly steam bun, a spare rib, a fried pickle, a pimento-stuffed fresno chile, and enough cured meats and peppers to make your heart stop. This is what we call "drinking your meal." 

With so many innovative recipes, you'll be hard pressed to find a person at the table who doesn't enjoy a Bloody Mary. Whip these up for your New Year's Day brunch, and enjoy.

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