The Bloody Mary is believed to have been invented in the 1920s or 1930s; there are various theories as to the origin of the drink, as well as the origin of its name. Some believe the drink is named for Queen Mary I of England, who was nicknamed as such in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for attempting to re-establish the Catholic Church in England. Some drink aficionados believe the inspiration for the name was Hollywood star Mary Pickford Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood. The Cliff House Bloody Mary is an award-winning blend that is so popular with its patrons that it is now bottled and available to the public in numerous retail locations throughout the Bay Area.
Hot Buttered Rum is a favorite holiday drink at the Cliff House and has a long history across the country. Americans have been sipping this cold-weather drink since colonial times. Campaigning politicians reportedly handed it out to warm up their constituents before they headed off to the voting booth. When the Whitneys reopened the Cliff House in 1937, this old-fashioned rum concoction was one of the most popular beverages on the bar menu.
Cliff House cocktail history would not be complete without the Irish Coffee and the Ramos Gin Fizz. They are two of the most sought out libations by travelers and locals alike and the Cliff House turns out multiples of these cocktails at its bars daily.
The Irish Coffee is a perfect Cliff House libation, a nip of Irish Whisky and hot coffee to fight the cool winds off the ocean with a layer of frothed heavy cream floating on top like the summer fog. The Irish Coffee was invented at the Shannon Airport in Ireland to warm some guests after a particularly grueling winter flight. It was brought over by Buena Vista co-owner Jack Koeppler and travel writer Stanton Delaplane of the San Francisco Chronicle back in the 1950s’ and adapted into what it is today.
The Ramos Fizz was invented by Henry C. Ramos in 1888 at his bar, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon on Gravier Street in New Orleans, LA. It was originally called a “New Orleans fizz” and is one of New Orleans most famous cocktails. The Cliff House has been serving this decadent brunch drink since the early 70s and was featured for more than thirty years on the label of Parfumerie Funel-brand orange flower water. Orange flower water and egg white significantly affect the flavor and texture of a Ramos, compared to a regular gin fizz. Historically the alcohol “cooked” the egg white but in the 21st century pasteurized egg whites are used.
Sources: Mary Germain Hountalas, The San Francisco Cliff House, Ten Speed Press. www.wikipedia.org.