The Origin of the Bloody Mary Cocktail

Lisa Hale sent me an interesting link the other day, to an article on the origins of the cocktail known as a Bloody Mary. The article is here.

The article has a number of alternatives, one of which is the following:

American actor George Jessel also claimed to have invented the Bloody Mary in Palm Beach in 1927. He was in desperate need of a quick fix for a hangover when a bartender suggested vodka. Jessel claims he mixed it with tomato juice, lemon, and Worcestershire to kill the smell and called it a Bloody Mary after socialite Mary Brown Warburton, went to take a sip and spilled it all over her white dress. According to Jessel’s autobiography she laughed and said, “Now you can call me Bloody Mary, George!”

Whatever the truth of the story I was intrigued to identify Mary Brown Warburton so I googled her. She lived from 1896-1937 and was the daughter of Major Barclay Harding Warburton I (April 1, 1866 – December 5, 1954) who was the publisher of the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph. She died of an overdose of heroin and morphine.

Barclay Harding Warburton was the first of four generations bearing the same name. His father was Charles Edward Warburton (March 2, 1837 − September 1, 1896) who preceded him as publisher of the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph. Coincidentally Charles Edward is the name of my great grandfather.

It seems Charles was born in Philadelphia, but I found nothing of his parents or origins. If anyone can add to the story I would be very interested.

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