As with many classic cocktails, the origins of the Bloody Mary are obscure. Some historians trace it to comedian George Jessel, who began drinking it in the 1920s as a simple combination of equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Others claim legendary bartender Fernand Petiot added the trademark horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco.
Regardless of who invented it, the Bloody Mary has become the soothing remedy to a night of revelry or a holiday season of indulgence. But in the midst of the current cocktail renaissance, bartenders are vying to outdo each other and take the drink to the next level. The days of the lone celery stick are long gone. Here are some of the most elaborate—and downright creative—versions around the county.