For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Happy birthday, Bloody Mary

The IPKat has received a fascinating circular from the Tri-State Hospitality Association which has the intriguing title "New York City to celebrate 75th anniversary of the Bloody Mary on Red Monday". The interesting bits of the circular read as follows:

"Thousands of bars and taverns in the Big Apple will be celebrating Red Monday for the 75th anniversary of the Bloody Mary. The drink, which is an American institution, originated in Manhattan by a famous French bartender named Ferdinand Petiot when he came here in 1933. New York State and local officials will proclaim Bloody Mary Day and honor the granddaughter of Petiot with a citation and a Bloody Mary toast on Monday December 1, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. in the middle of Times Square at 1552 Broadway. ...

The cocktail was originally called the "Red Snapper" because the term bloody was considered harsh for a drink in the 1930s. When Tabasco sauce was added to the drink the name "Bloody Mary" became a household word. In the 1960s it became popular to serve the cocktail with celery due to a guest at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago".

The IPKat, who is still trying to understand the final sentence, has spent a pleasant half hour or so under the influence of the Bloody Mary disambiguation page on Wikipedia, which he found most instructive. It seems that Tabasco sauce (itself a trade mark except where it isn't ...) is not de rigueur and that one can substitute, as the Kat does, Worcestershire sauce. The ever-resourceful Merpel adds, here's a recipe that has both.

Is the descriptive term Bloody Mary protectable under the civil law against unscrupulous rogues who don't follow a conventionally-accepted recipe for it? It's not a trade mark for cocktails and it's not a geographical indication. The House of Lords in Erven Warnink v Townend provided a remedy of extended passing-off in order to prevent the defendant selling as "Old English Advocaat" a drink that may have been English but which was neither old nor advocaat. The reasoning in this case might on appropriate facts be extended to Bloody Mary too. Presumably the civil law jurisdictions will provide some relief through unfair competition too. Are there any good cases that readers are willing to share with the IPKat? If so, please email them to him here.

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