One Hundred Years of Tomato Juice

By Joy Neighbors

History was made one morning as the last orange was squeezed …

It was an early summer day in 1917 when Chef Louis Perrin entered his kitchen ready to prepare the morning meal for another crowd of guests at The Springs Restaurant. Things were progressing well until the Chef realized that they had run out of oranges and couldn't make orange juice. Ever resourceful, Chef Perrin simply grabbed a handful of tomatoes and began creating a new beverage – tomato juice.

The Chef's Recipe Minus the Secret Sauce
Using ripe tomatoes, a touch of sugar and his secret sauce, the Chef created a new breakfast drink that was a huge success. News of the drink spread quickly throughout the country and people arrived at the hotel just to try the interesting concoction. Soon there were too many orders for tomato juice and The Springs kitchen couldn’t keep up with the demand.

A tomato juice company was formed in French Lick and given the secret recipe in order to make the juice in large quantities for the hotel. But once folks had a taste for it, the demand for tomato juice increased substantially, and by 1928, canned tomato juice was available on the commercial market.

Bartender Tomi Parker and Her Tomato-based Beverage
Today, tomato juice is still available but not nearly as popular as a breakfast drink as it once was. In fact, it is more popular as the base for such cocktails as the Bloody Mary and Bloody Caesar. (In Canada, it’s popular to mix tomato juice with beer.)

If you’d like to experience the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, plan a trip to French Lick Resort and pay a visit to 1875: The Steakhouse. Bartender Tomi Parker has created a cocktail masterpiece, her signature 1875 Bloody Mary. Brimming with the flavors of peppercorn, Tabasco, Worcestershire and tomato added to black pepper vodka, this is one drink you will relish from beginning to end.