Not so much anymore, but in past years Joanne and I always planned some sort of festivity for New Year’s Day – usually a party centered around the Rose Bowl game, with “hair of the dog” concoctions central to the offerings.

The full phrase, actually, is “The hair of the dog that bit you” – meaning that if you over-imbibed the previous night, a wee dram of the same drink in the morning will soothe the nerves and calm the soul.

Originally, however, the phrase supposedly had nothing to do with alcohol. It’s thought to date back to ancient times in England or Scotland, where people believed that you could speed the healing of a dog bite by putting some of the animal’s hair on the wound.

Could be a bunch of hooey. But I told Joanne that if she ever gets bit by a dog on one of our walks around the lake, we’re going to give it a try.

I’m also reminded of Homer Simpson’s favorite toast: “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

No truer words were ever spoken to someone nursing a New Year’s Eve hangover. And no better drink has ever been served on New Year’s Day than a BLOODY MARY.

Where and how the world’s most famous brunch drink was born is subject to some dispute. But there seem to be a few prevailing opinions, none of which – or any of which – may be true.

One view is that in the 1920s, at HARRY’S BAR in Paris, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway took to drinking a simple concoction of vodka and tomato juice – nothing more. Such was his fame that it became an instant classic.

Others say that in New York City a decade or so later, the 21 CLUB and the KING COLE BAR in the St. Regis Hotel prepared Bloody Marys for the comedian George Jessel, who requested his with a celery stalk garnish and, some say, a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

Garnishes, of course, are THE distinguishing feature of Bloody Marys, even though the spiciness of the mix itself can vary widely.

So this posting is going to be different from my others: It’s a “visual feast” of outrageous Bloody Mary garnish ideas for your New Year’s Day celebrations. Look at the pictures, read the captions, and seize the opportunity to knock out your guests with your creativity even as you nurse them back to health with your cocktail.

We’ll start with the simple foundations of the Ernest Hemingway and George Jessel iterations and proceed to the more bizarre and clever possibilities.

Somewhere along the journey, you’ll need to figure out just where the garnishes end and the buffet begins.

Enjoy – and Happy New Year!


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