January 1 – Bloody Mary Day

Certainly an appropriate way to start the new year. Partygoers who are suffering from a morning-after-New Year’s Eve hangover–or those who haven’t even gone to bed yet–turn to this libation for the “hair of the dog” solution. It’s also a perennial staple for brunches any time of the year. The kick of hot sauce, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce brings a startling complement to the thick tomato juice, making the vodka go down smooth. Plus the vegetable content of the drink gives you the excuse that you’re being healthy, and making up for all the nutrients you lost when you puked up your champagne and canapes from the night before.

The first entry for National Food Days in NYC is pretty easy. According to Wikipedia, the Bloody Mary’s murky past begins either in 1921 with Fernand Petroit, or 1939 with George Jessel. The drink found its origins at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The drink made its way across the Atlantic in 1934 where Petroit served it in the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

The King Cole Bar still exists, and the Bloody Mary–also known there as the Red Snapper–remains the jewel in its cocktail menu. Having the drink at the original New York bar, however, will set you back: at $20 per glass, it’s expensive, even for Manhattan. But it’s the price you pay for finding the closest recipe of the cocktail to the original without boarding a flight to France and heading to Harry’s yourself.

Have you tried the King Cole “Red Snapper?” Did it live up to the storied expectations? Is there somewhere else in the city that serves a meaner version? Let me know what you think of the Bloody Marys New York has to offer!

King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel
2 East 55th Street

Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The home of the original Bloody Mary. So I had one. And guess what? It was great. They have their own recipe which may may you think they have it wrong, but they were first.”–Nick B.

“In short, if you’re looking to feel both inadequate and illustrious while sucking down a world-class Bloody Mary and shooting the shit with the upper crust, take a break from your recession-hardened routine and feel special for 20 minutes, for $20.”–Malcolm K.