When searching for the best Bloody Marys, you have to go back to where the beloved brunch cocktail was invented: The St. Regis. Bartender Fernand Petiot actually began crafting the Bloody Mary in Paris during the late 1920s, before he moved to The St. Regis New York, but he revived it when he landed at the iconic hotel. In 1934, a customer at the New York hotel’s King Cole Bar requested the same vodka-and-tomato-juice cocktail he tried in Paris to go with his breakfast, but Petiot boosted the flavor with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire sauce, essentially making it the drink we enjoy today (it was renamed the Red Snapper because “Bloody Mary” was considered too risqué for the posh clientele at the time). The Bloody Mary became the signature tipple of The St. Regis brand, with each hotel offering its own local spin on the drink. To mark the cocktail’s 80th anniversary this year, our Forbes Travel Guide editors took a sip of some of the best of the bunch.
1. 7452 Mary. Order one of the most unusual Bloody Marys at The St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City. This concoction—named for the Four-Star hotel’s elevation at 7,452 feet—uses the signature St. Regis Bloody Mary mix, oat-distilled Vodka 7000’ from nearby High West Distillery and is topped off with a delightfully foamy wasabi and celery espuma (made of lime, celery and green apple juices, wasabi powder, salt, Xantana) that lingers on the tongue and a dash of cayenne pepper. For extra heat, squeeze the plastic pipette filled with Worcestershire and Tabasco that comes floating in the stemless wine glass, which is rimmed with agave nectar and black lava salt (the coal-colored salt is a nod to the region’s mining history).
2. The Red Snapper. You can’t beat an original. The brand’s most popular Bloody Mary is The St. Regis New York’s recipe (1 ounce of Belvedere vodka; 2 ounces of tomato juice; a dash of lemon juice; two dashes of celery salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper; 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce). All other versions of the drink are based off the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s snappy classic.
3. Bloody Smoke. Of course London standout The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel lends its tipple a British bent. The Five-Star hotel honors the local distilling tradition by adding 10-year-old Ardbeg whiskey—which gives a layer of smokiness—to the St. Regis Bloody Mary mix, lemon juice, Clamato and fresh ground pepper. The potent drink is adorned with chives.
4. Harry’s Texas Bloody Mary. Texas delivers big, bold Southern flavors in its food, and The St. Regis Houston carries this philosophy over to its drinks. One of the most popular Bloody Marys among The St. Regis brand, the Four-Star Houston hotel’s piquant take includes Herradura Silver Tequila, Frïs vodka, the St. Regis Bloody Mary mix, lemon juice, sugar, two olives, four slices of jalapeño and Cajun seasoning, which adds a strong punch.
5. Capitol Mary. Another favorite is The St. Regis Washington, D.C.’s extra-spicy cocktail bursting with garlic, coriander, chili flakes and horseradish that complements catch from the Chesapeake Bay. The Four-Star hotel also mixes in gin, tomato, clam and lemon juices; Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces; and seafood-friendly Old Bay seasoning, and finishes it with oyster crackers and a tail-on shrimp. (If you want to learn from the pros, the D.C. hotel offers monthly cocktail classes; Oct. 24’s session will focus on the Bloody Mary.)
6. Siam Mary. Served in an impressive ice-filled silver tankard bearing The St. Regis Bangkok’s insignia, the Siam Mary is one fiery drink. The Bangkok hotel gives its cocktail a Thai twist with chopped Thai chili, lemon, coriander as well as a lemongrass stalk, basil stem and lime wedge that offer eye-catching embellishments. The zesty mix includes vodka, tomato juice, wasabi paste, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper.
7. Agave Maria. Southern California’s Mexican heritage inspired The St. Regis Monarch Beach’s Agave Maria. The Five-Star Orange County hotel’s spicy treat is made with triple-distilled Inocente Tequila, the St. Regis Bloody Mary mix, a diced and blended tomato, lemon juice and two jalapeño pepper slices floating on top of the salt-rimmed martini glass.
8. Mary Terranean. To make the Blood Mary appropriate for Rome, The St. Regis Rome sprinkles oregano and two basil leaves, along with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, into its vodka-based drink. The signature mix and red-hot pepper powder fill out the smooth and refreshing beverage.
9. Mita Mary. Since The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort is in Mexico, local ingredients such as white tequila, coriander and avocado have top billing in the Mita Mary. You’ll also taste tomato, Clamato, lemon and V8 juices; Tabasco, Maggi seasoning and Worcestershire sauces; sea salt; and cayenne pepper. A thin slice of avocado and a fresh coriander leaf are the finishing touches in the highball glass.
10. Downhill Snapper. Four-Star The St. Regis Aspen Resort’s Downhill Snapper embraces a more herbaceous flavor with the addition of muddled dill and basil (it also has Bloody Mary mix, V8, tomato juice, Ketel One vodka, Tabasco, fresh cracked pepper and a garnish of olives, a lime wedge and a pickle slice). Your palate will also detect citrus (thanks to juice from six limes and six lemons) in a drink that tastes like it was made in a garden.