Capturing the Spirit of Bloody Mary


October 2021 Issue
Local Photography and Story By Jacie Elizabeth Millen

With the spirit of Halloween coursing through fall, October brings us all kinds of tricks and treats to enjoy throughout the month. One treat that is enjoyed, not only in fall, but year-round is the Bloody Mary. Originally created to cure a hangover, the Bloody Mary has become quite a gastric gourmet concoction, especially at brunch. Whether you like olives, pickles, spice, or no spice, these are one-of-a-kind drinks that can be mixed and mingled any way you like it. Adding to the morbidity of its name, the lore behind the Bloody boasts a haunting history that can tell its story for itself.

Though the history is as murky as tomato juice, this popular drink has myriad myths and legends of how it got its chilling name.

The Origin: In the early 1920s, French bartender Fernand Petiot first created a hangover cocktail consisting of raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, spices and cocktail sauce. In 1922, when the Russian Revolution ended, Paris was flooded with Russians who brought along their favorite libation to spice things up—Vodka! Petiot found genius in this clear concoction and debuted his brilliant drink at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. A blend of vodka, tomato juice and a squeeze of lemon was just the beginning. Soon after, Petiot brought it to Manhattan, where it was called The Red Snapper for a short period of time. While in New York, Petiot dolled up the beverage with tabasco sauce, Worcestershire, celery salt. Keeping the base the same world wide—tomato juice, the toppings and add-ins are what make the Bloody Mary unique depending on your mixologist. This has your next DIY written all over it. The combined flavors, the big taste, and the versatility of the drink caught on, and a classic was born.

Here lies the legend that reigns most popular: The drink was named after Queen Mary I. As the first Queen of England to rule in her own right, it seems Mary got so carried away in her power, she became known as “Bloody Mary.” During her reign, she had more than 300 religious protesters burned at the stake, and that is your clue as to where the moniker “bloody” comes from. It is said that the tomato juice represents the blood shed, and the vodka, or “firewater” is symbolic of the brutality imposed by the Queen. Before introducing you to the Lowcountry’s best Bloody Marys, one key fact to know is Bloody Marys are not an evening drink. Legend states that those who consume it after the sun goes down possess personality defects and are to be avoided at all costs. It is, however, a known antidote to the common hangover, and those who drink it in the morning are to be regarded as people of great knowledge and discernment. So beware, keeping this rule in mind, and go forth into the morning and drink your bloody heart out.

Why that’s exactly what we did! We visited our favorite brunch spots and restaurant bars seeking the bloodiest of all Bloodys. Scour through the next few pages to find the Lowcountry’s best Bloody Marys and see which one spikes your appetite. We loved them all!

BloodyMary1021 Elas

Ela’s On the Water
The Better with Brunch

Grey Goose Vodka, Charleston Bloody Mary mix and some secrets. Garnished with Pickled Okra, Crispy Bacon, Lemon, Lime, Side of Horseradish, and a personal Mini Bottle of Tabasco.

In the beautiful Shelter Cove Marina, Ela’s On the Water is nestled on Broad Creek with stunning water, marsh and yacht views. Even though a night out at Ela’s will tickle your taste buds, we are here for the Bloody Marys. Offered anytime, and perfect with Sunday brunch, this alluring tall glass of goodness is calling your name (and mine). Served with all the gourmet goodies and the most adorable little tabasco bottle, this Bloody Mary is sure to spice up your morning and keep you coming back for more. What more can you ask for? Waterviews and one of the best Bloodys around? I say yes to picturesque.

BloodyMary1021 Sunrise

Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe
Specialty House-made Bloody Mary mix, Bakon Vodka. Garnished with a Slice of Bacon, Piece of Lettuce and a Grape Tomato

Tucked away under the Cross Island bridge hides a very popular hidden gem. Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe has kept the griddle sizzling since 2002 in their own unique way, becoming one of the most hoppin’ breakfast and lunch cafes on Hilton Head. With a wait for brunch every weekend, guests mingle with the mini-bar outside to conveniently order their morning libations of mimosas, Bellinis, and you guessed it, killer Bloody Marys. Alongside their famous stuffed French toasts and Benedicts, Bloody Marys are one of their top-selling items. With four different offerings, there is one for everyone. The BLT Bloody Mary was a must try. Why? Bacon! With a seasoned rim that added all the right savor and that delicious house-made mix, the BLT is to die for--literally, take me to the grave with this Bloody Mary in my hand.


BloodyMary1021 BurntChurch

Burnt Church Distillery
The Works
Sippin’ Saint Bloody Mary Moonshine, Bloody Pointe Bloody Mary Mix, Burnt Church Pear Vodka, Tabasco Sauce, & Red Pepper flakes. Garnished with a fresh cucumber and olives.

Deep in the historical roots of Bluffton stands the newest building in the area. Burnt Church Distillery, unprecedented from any other establishment in the county, has already made a huge impact and caught our eye with their Sippin’ Saint Bloody Mary Moonshine. An impeccable mix of flavors, the right amount of spice, it’s just the concoction to wet your whistle. With the add-in of the Bloody Pointe Bloody Mary mix, locally created by Justin Johnson, a long-time Lowcountry resident, the flavors just keep flowing alongside the added hint of sweet pear vodka. The mixologist behind the bar couldn’t have pulled it off any better.

BloodyMary1021 FrenchBakery

The French Bakery
The French Twist
Sake, Charleston Bloody Mary Mix— Garnished with Celery Stalk, a Strip of Bacon, Pickles and Peppadew Peppers.

Placed perfectly in Shelter Cove Towne Centre, The French Bakery is the hub for all things sweet and delicious, including delicious sweet or savory crepes, tempting French toast, and unreal Bloody Marys. So what’s the French twist? This Bloody is made with Sake, which adds a piquant kick to it, making the essence so much more. The French Bakery doesn’t just make this drink easy on the taste buds, but easy on the eyes as well. Stunning presentation to match the uncommon concoction, it’s easily a top contender for Hilton Head Island’s Next Top Model. What’s her name? Bloody Mary.

BloodyMary1021 Skillets 

Skillets Cafe and Grill
The Day Drinker
House vodka, Scratch-made Hearty Bloody Mary Mix, Garnished with celery, olives and a squeeze of lemon.

Brunch (n):
The socially acceptable excuse for day drinking. Once you get a sweet sip of this house-made blend, you’re not going to want to stop day drinking. Big and bold, just like its Bloody Mary, Skillets Cafe and Grill stands tall as an Island icon for 28 years. Located in Coligny Plaza, Skillets has hosted and fed hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals, leaving them with full stomachs and maybe a buzz. Known for their unbeatable all day breakfast, seven days a week, Bloodys usually follow suit. With their house-made Bloody Mary mix, infused with a secret ingredient you could never guess, the glasses are filled with mystery as much as they are filled with tasty. Now that’s the spirit!


BloodyMary1021 Roadhouse
Roadhouse Ribs, Steaks & Seafood
The Only Exception
Your choice of Vodka, Spicy Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix, Tomato Juice, a Splash of Lime Juice—Garnished with a Lemon or Lime, Shaken Over Smoked Ice

Remember the rule? No Bloody Marys at night? We are making one exception; tell no one… except all your friends! Roadhouse Ribs, Steaks and Seafood, tucked under beautiful live oaks right over the Beaufort bridges, is a cozy, casual and comfortable spot for all to dine, enjoy and indulge in the best of what life has to offer—BBQ and Bloody Marys (and cold beer, too!). Concocted with the most interesting mix of them all, Roadhouse adds flavor like no other, not to mention the smoked ice. This ice is water purposely placed in the smoker, filtered and frozen to perfection, adding a spike of smoke to this hearty drink. This drink is on fire with originality.


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