In many ways, the Bloody Mary is an outlier when it comes to cocktails. First of all, since the demise of the three-martini lunch popular in the Sixties, almost all cocktails are evening fare, while the Bloody Mary is perfect anytime, and pretty much the only cocktail that’s a socially acceptable standard for breakfast. Secondly, it is one of the only cocktails served spicy, filling a big void for heat lovers. Thirdly, it is uniquely popular as an in-flight choice (with some interesting science behind the reasons why airline passengers crave it), as well as at airport lounges and bars, making it a favorite of travelers worldwide. Finally, in many ways, it was the original craft cocktail, long before the recent “mixology” craze, in the sense that lots of people make them at home, often with a special secret or family recipe or addition, sort of like Nonna’s pasta sauce, as in “You just have to try my Bloody Mary.”
Like many classic food or beverage items, the origin stories are cloudy, but the most popular history suggests that in the 1920s, someone, most likely Fernand Petiot, a bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, mixed half tomato juice and half vodka and called it the “Bucket of Blood.” But to accept that as the drink we call a Bloody Mary would be like saying half lime juice and half tequila was a margarita. Petiot decamped to New York City and a prominent job at the famous King Cole Bar in the original St. Regis hotel, the height of Big Apple opulence, and the location that spawned one of the world’s most beloved luxury hotel brands. It was here in 1934 that he completed the recipe by adding dashes of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and the prerequisite Worcestershire sauce. The drink served at the King Cole Bar – which still makes most lists of world’s best hotel bars – is generally believed to be the first version of what we call the Bloody Mary, and it exploded onto the scene with, the bar dispensing 100-150 a day.
The St. Regis New York soon renamed the cocktail the Red Snapper so as to not offend its luxury clientele, but later shifted back, and for a period of time the names were interchangeable in the cocktail world, though today the Red Snapper has largely been adopted as the name for a gin-based version of the Bloody Mary.
The story has enough historical credence that St. Regis has claimed the invention of the globally popular cocktail as its own and made it a key fixture of the brand, alongside its other chain-wide signatures that differentiate it from top tier luxury competitors, its daily champagne sabering ritual with guest pours of bubbly and its worldwide fleet of butlers. What this means for thirsty luxury travelers is a world of new tastes to explore, since the single flagship New York icon has grown into more than 50 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide, and while most serve the classic recipe King Cole Bar original version, each also has its own house special take on the drink, driven by local history, culture and regional cuisine (except the location in Kuwait, where no alcohol is served).
This is the official recipe for the New York original, the “Standard” St. Regis version:
1 oz / 30 ml premium vodka
11 oz / 325 ml Bloody Mary mix
1 lemon wedge, for garnish
The Signature Blood Mary Mix:
Juice of 3 lemons
2 ½ #10 cans /2 ½ large tomato juice
5oz / 150ml Worcestershire sauce
10 dashes / 3ml Tabasco sauce
2tbsp / 30g freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp / 30g ground cayenne pepper
1tbsp / 15g ground celery salt
2tbsp / 30g whole black peppercorns
Fill 12oz / ½ L Blood Mary glass with ice. Add vodka. Fill glass with Blood Mary mix and garnish with lemon. Pour ingredients into a container and shake well. Use immediately or seal and refrigerate. Strain peppercorns from mix before adding alcohol. Makes 3 gallons / 11 L.
Some travelers like to be grounded in a sense of familiarity, and the original recipe can do that for them across the continents, while others crave local flavor and exploration, and trying a new twist on the Bloody Mary at each and every St. Regis you visit is a great way to do that. Some properties even offer mixology classes focused on teaching guests to make better Bloodies.
Once you start traveling, the twists get pretty extreme. I was just at the St. Regis Deer Valley in Utah, one of my all-time favorite luxury ski hotels (read more here), and the version there is made with locally produced 5 Sisters vodka, topped with wasabi foam, rimmed with a special black salt meant to evoke the region’s mining heritage and featuring a self-serve pipette of hot sauce (they were delicious and hard to stop quaffing). I’m heading shortly to one of the brand’s standout locations, the St. Regis Venice, where they clarify the tomato juice in order to produce a rare clear version, and drinking one will likely be the first thing I do when I arrive. Around the globe, additions to or substitutes for the traditional vodka run the gamut from gin to grappa to beer, offbeat ingredients include watermelon juice, lemongrass, soy sauce, clams, oysters, hot peppers, exotic spices, cheese, tea, extra-virgin olive oil, pickled okra and even turnip juice and crushed plantain chips. The presentations are equally diverse, with drinks served out of custom glassware, copper bowls, even a seashell.
Once you dive into the habit of trying the Bloody Mary at every St. Regis, you may not want to stay anywhere else, and the good news is that you won’t lack for other creature comforts. Arguably the top tier brand in the vast Marriot portfolio, St. Regis joins Ritz-Carlton and Luxury Collection, though its hotels are generally a bit more upscale.
Without further ado, here is every signature St. Regis Bloody Mary worldwide:
The St. Regis New York, Red Snapper: The original, above.
The St. Regis Houston, Harry’s Texas Bloody Mary: Reinterpreted, Texan style. Combining vodka and tequila, with spicy jalapeño pepper and Cajun seasoning to add heat and a bold flavor.
The St. Regis Washington, D.C., The Capitol Mary: Inspired by the commercial and cultural heritage of nearby Chesapeake Bay. Its base is gin, the spirit of choice of the city’s social set, particularly when summering around the bay. Signature spices from a classic Chesapeake Bay crab feast.
The St. Regis Deer Valley, UT, The 7452 Mary: Th name is the altitude, celery foam and black salt.
The St. Regis San Francisco, The Golden Gate Mary: Inspired by the signature color of its namesake, with red- and-orange-toned ingredients, tomatoes and chili powder, for a stunning shade of vermilion.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, The Bloody Sunrise: This crisp, zesty concoction draws inspiration from the captivating South Florida sunrises. Floridian touches like citrus and a colorful vegetable pincho.
The St. Regis Atlanta, The West Paces Mary: Named for historic Paces Ferry Road, a stylish reinvention with tastes of the Old South such as cayenne pepper and pickled okra.
The St. Regis Aspen, The Downhill Snapper: Inspired by the change of seasons in the Colorado Rockies. The subtle coolness of dill evokes the winter; basil and the refreshing citrus are redolent of bright summer days.
The St. Regis Toronto, The Rouge 140: Created at the first St. Regis in Canada by mixologist Jared Boller, this pays tribute to “the most multicultural” city in the world (over 200 cultures and 140 languages). A multitude of flavors from various cultures are represented.
Central America and the Caribbean:
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, The Mita Mary: Inspired by Mexico’s rich culture, tequila, avocado and coriander, while clam juice speaks to the Pacific waters.
The St. Regis Bermuda Resort, The Gates Bay Mary: Named for the turquoise bay bordering the resort, showcases native fennel, local Goslings Black Seal Rum, Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers sauce and a signature spice mix created on the island.
The St. Regis Mexico City, The Sangrita María: Uses Mezcal and local flavors including agave salt, spices and guajillo chile.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico, The Encanto Mary: Derived from La Isla del Encanto, a popular nickname for Puerto Rico, utilizing exotic flavors of the Caribbean -. Puerto Rican ají picante, which gives the cocktail heat, is nicely balanced by the inclusion of crushed plantain chips.
The St. Regis Venice, The Santa Maria: Perhaps the most interesting of all variants, this one is clear, as in not red, made with clarified tomato juice and served in a bespoke handmade Murano glass coupe glass with a crystal-clear chunk of ice. The colorless inspiration comes from one of the most important food ingredients in the region, the wine grape.
The St. Regis Florence, The Bloody Brunello: Florence is the gateway to Tuscany and this variant is inspired by the surrounding vineyards, most famously Sangiovese. It includes grappa made from the grapes used in one of Tuscany’s most renowned wines, Brunello di Montalcino.
The St. Regis Rome, The Maryterranean: This stunning hotel in the Eternal City underwent a complete $40+ million renovation a few years ago, and this year added a new signature drink, with extra-virgin olive oil, basil and oregano.
The St. Regis Istanbul, The Misty Mary: Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the world’s most touristically, culinarily and culturally unique cites. This cocktail features piquant traditional Turkish flavors, using red turnip juice, fresh thyme and hint of celery. Most uniquely, it lives up to its name, and is served in an elegant copper bowl with dry ice, to invoke the mist on the Bosphorus, the river separating the continents.
The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, Mallorca, Spain, The Mardavall Pepper Snapper: Mallorca is currently one of the world’s hottest leisure tourism destinations, and the St. Regis sits at the upper tier of the islands luxury lodging scene. This reinterpretation of the classic looks to the flavors around the island, and starts with Spain’s; famous love of premium gin (number one in consumption worldwide), adding crystallized Mallorcan sea salt and pimientos de Padrón, small grilled peppers locally prized for their spiciness.
The St. Regis Hong Kong, The Canto Mary: An infusion of Cantonese flavors with Western influences, it combines local ingredients chang pei (dry tangerine peel), Kowloon soy sauce and Chinese five-spice mix with the boldness of Scotch Whisky, adding a tasty edge to the experience.
The St. Regis Zhuhai, The Pearly Mary: Zhuhai is a coastal city in the Pearl River Delta region, famous for its native Hengqin oysters and plum wine. A fabulous oyster sauce is made here, the secret ingredient in this drink.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, The Island Mary: Inspired by the flavors and landscape of the Maldives, this complements the classic Bloody Mary ingredients with kala namak salt, a distinctive seasoning popular in South Asian cuisine, and is served in a nautilus seashell.
The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan, The Mary Jing: A twist on the classic, featuring Shanghainese flavors and fragrances including dried, preserved figs and flowering osmanthus.
The St. Regis Goa, The Goan Mary: Inspired by the vibrant colors and popular spicy red mix, Goan Recheado masala, with Kashmiri chilli, vinegar, garlic, cinnamon and local spices.
The St. Regis Qingdao, GáLa Mary: Celebrating local ingredients and Qingdao’s maritime history with native sea salt and clams, plus the addition of Tsingtao beer, from the world-famous brewery founded here in 1903.
The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, The Assam Boi Mary: The Assam Boi Mary combines Sarawak black pepper, paprika and the flavor of dried plum in an aromatic tonic, along with the juice of local calamansi lime.
The St. Regis Langkawi, The Lang Mary: Langkawi means “island of the reddish-brown eagle” in colloquial Malay, and this exotic interpretation evokes the bird’s soaring spirit, combining the flavor of local pandan with tamarind and lemongrass, for an aromatic citrus twist on the classic.
The St. Regis Changsha, The Baijiu Mary: This one combines fresh flavors from Hunan Province: Baijiu, a traditional Chinese liquor, chili and a twist of orange to represent nearby Orange Island.
The St. Regis Tianjin, The Jin Mary: Inspired by the history of ancient China and its rich tea culture, the Jin Mary features a selection of Asian spices and is infused with Lapsang Souchong tea.
The St. Regis Singapore, The Chilli Padi Mary: This libation incorporates ingredients found throughout the region: lemongrass, chilli padi and ginger.
The St. Regis Shenzhen, The Yan Mary: Inspired by the bounty of the South China Sea, its distinctive savory flavor is derived from the addition of sea salt and a fresh oyster, a prized regional staple.
The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort, The Sanya Mary: Inspired by Hainan Island’s lush climate and tropical beauty, the Sanya Mary combines fresh ingredients sourced from the island’s natural abundance, including pineapple juice, lemongrass, sea salt, yellow chili and Hainan white pepper.
The St. Regis Chengdu, The Chuan Mary: Taking inspiration from traditional Sichuan cuisine, the signature cocktail of The St. Regis Chengdu features the bold flavors of this historic city. The epicurean-minded Chuan Mary fuses fragrant peppery notes with red cherry tomato juice, elegantly garnished with chili for a fiery finish.
The St. Regis Osaka, The Shogun Mary: This cocktail uses traditional yuzu fruit that blends perfectly with the slight citrus notes of dry gin, finished with a zest of wasabi.
The St. Regis Mumbai, The Mumbai Mary: The Mumbai Mary embodies the bold spirit of the city with spices like cinnamon and coriander.
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, The Bora Mary: A watermelon plantation was discovered on a nearby coral reef islet, and since tomatoes are not native to the island, juice from watermelons was added to create this unique and delightfully refreshing take on the cocktail.
The St. Regis Beijing, The Great Wall Bloody Mary: Honoring the 9,000-year-old tradition of brewing in China, the great Wall Bloody Mary reinterprets the classic cocktail by substituting Chinese pilsner for vodka.
The St. Regis Bangkok, The Siam Mary: A culinary journey into Thailand, it boasts a complex array of signature Thai flavors – spicy, zesty, sweet and salty – using fresh lime, lemongrass, Thai chili, cilantro and wasabi.
The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central, The Maria do Leste: Inspired by the shores of the Portuguese coast, the Maria do Leste reflects the worldly voyages of the Portuguese sailors, including piri piri peppers, paprika and cinnamon.
The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, The Tubo Mary: Flavored with a local variant of bird’s eye chili, this libation is topped with whipping cream and barley, an age-old Tibetan staple.
The St. Regis Bali Resort, The Bali Mary: Succulent jicama and cucumber, often found in local dishes, add a refreshing element to this signature cocktail, while its spiciness is rounded out by the addition of brown sugar.
The St. Regis Astana, Kazakhstan, The Nomad Snapper: In 2017 The St. Regis Astana joined with esquire.kz to invite readers to suggest the hotel’s signature cocktail. The result was a unique celebration of creativity, culture and flavor inspired by the breathtaking spirit of the vast Steppe of Kazakhstan. The Nomad Snapper unites the distinctive flavors of kurt cheese, adjika chili dip and Aral Sea salt, while a kurt cheese and wheat bread infusion adds a stylish touch.
The St. Regis Amman, The Jameed Mary: Jameed is a local Jordanian product, integral to the lives of Bedouin tribes. Its name means “hardened,” the process to make laban (yoghurt) and goat’s milk into a solid, hard cheese used as the main ingredient of Jordan’s national dish, mansaf.
The St. Regis Doha, The Spice Route Mary: This signature drink celebrates spices once carried by caravans across ancient trade routes and the treasures of Souq Waqif, Doha’s legendary market. Spices include cumin, ginger, saffron oil, black olive powder and ras el hanout, a local 8-spice blend.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, The Arabian Snapper: Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend prized since antiquity, and here it is mixed with oregano, thyme, basil, sesame seeds and salt.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, The Desert Snapper: This smoky concoction evokes the conviviality of the hookah lounge and adds za’atar seeds and cucumber.
The St. Regis Downtown Dubai, The Marasi Mary: The Marasi Mary is infused with Sabear spices, Madfoon tomato and Sheeh syrup.
The St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, The Pearl Qatar, The Red Pearl: The classic ingredients are joined by za’atar and sumac, two distinctive herbs in Middle Eastern cuisine. Served in a handmade wooden bed tray and topped with an edible pearl.
The St. Regis Cairo, The Hibiscus Mary: Cultivated in Egypt since the ancient Pharaohs ruled the region, the hibiscus flower is omnipresent in and around Cairo. It’s also a key ingredient in the Hibiscus Mary.