Like the late nights that often inspire a round of Bloody Marys the next morning, the origin of the famed red cocktail is a bit murky. Best bets are on Fernand Petiot—the bartender at New York’s legendary King Cole Bar who jazzed up a tomato juice cocktail in 1934 and birthed the brunch classic we know today. It was christened the Red Snapper, to protect the delicate ears of King Cole’s patrons, but the drink’s original name, Bloody Mary, won out over time.
Decades later, the Bloody Mary has cured hangovers, brightened brunches, lifted spirits, and, perhaps most significantly, earned a hallowed spot in cocktail lore. The recipe varies, but the basics remain unchanged: tomato juice, vodka, and a roster of other ingredients that add heat, tang, and umami. To honor the iconic drink’s eightieth anniversary, the King Cole Bar is celebrating the country’s best versions—including High Cotton’s, a spicy take known statewide. Like all great Bloody Marys, the High Cotton rendition builds on the classic and takes it somewhere new with a small tweak—in this case, the house-made Lowcountry spice rub.
During October, the King Cole Bar will serve High Cotton’s bracing Bloody Mary, while High Cotton will serve Petiot’s original Red Snapper. You can try both at the Greenville restaurant and compare notes all month long. Proceeds from Bloody Mary sales during October will be donated to Project Host, an Upstate charity working to end hunger. All the more reason to feel good about ordering another round.