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February 18: Bloody Mary’s Birthday

It’s Bloody Mary’s birthday. Not the cocktail, but the English queen after whom the cocktail was almost certainly named. Queen Mary the First earned her nickname by putting a lot of Protestants to death for not being Catholic. The cocktail, which popped up in the early 20th century, has many inventors, as famous cocktails tend to do. There are also lots of competing and generally convoluted theories about how it got its name, and what they have in common is they’re all bloody ridiculous, except for the one that says the drink was named after a well-known historical figure, in this case an English queen widely known as Bloody Mary. I mean, really. It’s like saying, 50 years after its invention, The Santa Claus Cocktail was actually named after a landlord named Sandy who made the inventor sign a rental contract with a lot of fine print. When it comes to the history of hooch, there are a lot of wild-eyed ding-dongs working the levers.