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The History of the Beloved Bloody Mary

We’d like to thank international polo champion Nacho Figueras for originally sharing with us the origins of this story before a Veuve Clicquot match at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, California. We interviewed the dashing Argentine native on his wellness program and diet before a big game, and this led to the Bloody Mary tale, which just proves that you never know when you’ll find an interesting or entertaining tomato-based story.

Figueras is a brand ambassador for the St. Regis Hotels & Resorts brand globally, helping to shape future guest experiences and cultivate the next generation of St. Regis diehards, while bringing awareness and appreciation to the iconic international sport of polo for the hotel chain—and the love of a good, classic Bloody Mary.

The Bloody Mary as we know it today was actually perfected at the St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar, in 1934, by bartender Fernand Petiot. Serge Obolensky, a well-known bon vivant whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the tomatoey vodka cocktail he’d had in Paris. The formula was spiced with salt, pepper, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce.

The beloved King Cole has sold over a million Red Snappers—which remain the signature drink.

To drink vodka with tomato juice was actually rather unbecoming for the well-heeled patrons of the hotel, so Petiot cleverly named his version the Red Snapper. The idea clearly struck a chord: The beloved King Cole has sold over a million Red Snappers—which remain the signature drink.

While the name was changed, the spicy drink has been imitated and adapted endlessly by others throughout the years. The original recipe is still served in the King Cole Bar today, where it’s still one of the most-ordered cocktails on the menu.

Red Snapper (aka Bloody Mary)


1 ounce vodka
2 ounces tomato juice
1 dash lemon juice
2 pinches celery salt
2 pinches black pepper
2 pinches cayenne pepper
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
Strain over ice cubes and garnish with a lemon wedge.

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