I see that Julie Burchill (above), a journalist who recently wrote an article with the headline “Tell us to drink 'moderately' and we'll just crack open another one,” has been interviewed by the BBC about Ava Gardner. She said, “A woman with no temper is like a Bloody Mary with no Tabasco.”
Personally I’d say that a woman with no temper is like a Bloody Mary with no vodka, but I sure wouldn’t want to get into an argument with Julie Burchill. And the fact is people put all kinds of stuff into a Bloody Mary: there are a few bars in New York where they lay out the ingredients so you can make your own recipe. Ktchn, on West 42nd Street offers 20 extras including black-lava salt, capers, peppers and bacon. This is what one version looks like (which to me looks like a Bloody Mary with a fruit and veg cocktail in it):
I’ve been poking around trying to find a picture of Ava Gardner with a Bloody Mary in hand, and I’ve failed, though there’s no shortage of her sipping on other beverages.
However, thanks to the late Peter Evan’s Ava Gardner: the Secret Conversations, we know that she did indeed drink Bloody Marys at least once in a while, with moderately disastrous consequences. She was dating, and drinking and arguing with her then boyfriend Howard Hughes. Hughes punched her in the face, dislocating her jaw, and she picked up an onyx ashtray and smashed it over his head. Long after the event she said, “There was blood on the walls, on the furniture — real blood in the Bloody Marys.”
Now there’s an idea.