Red Snapper

The gin’s very own ‘Bloody Mary,’ red and snappy. 

Our Favourite Recipe:

60ml Gin

120ml Tomato Juice

15ml Lemon Juice

7 drop Tabasco hot sauce

4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

2 pinches of celery salt

2 grinds of black pepper

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a long Collins glass. Serve with straws.

Garnish with a salt and pepper rim, and add half a celery stick.


Having moved in the 1940’s from Paris to New York, Fernand Petiot brought his 1920 creation of the ‘Bloody Mary’ with him. Petiot had been working at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris where he become known for his Bloody Mary concoction, serving the likes of Ernest Hemingway amongst others. However, Petiot’s employers at the King Cole Road, St. Regis Hotel based in New York City, snappily disapproved of the cocktail’s rather brash name, and so the very same drink was re-named by the owner, Vincent Astor instead as the ‘Red Snapper.’

The first noting of the Red Snapper can be found in Crosby Gaige’s, ‘Cocktail Guide and Ladies’s Companion ’ published in 1941. This recipe does not, like is commonly thought, state that it is made with gin but continues on in the same line as its British counterpart’s contents and affirms that it is still to be made with vodka. This misunderstanding was built on the idea that vodka was hard to come by in Post-Prohibition America, but we know for a fact that vodka was still quite abundant especially among the bourgeoisie.

Petiot adapted George Jessel’s original mix of half vodka and half tomato juice, adding instead various pungent sauces to give it that strong and spicy flavouring which has made it so famous today. Indeed it is often drunk as a ‘hair of the dog,’ blasting and firing out the cobwebs and cloudiness brought on from the night before. At the start of the 1960s, a Red Snapper made with gin was well publicized as shown in ‘The London Magazine,’ Volume 2 1962 edition. It was not only vodka and gin that were used as the base spirit for this ubiquitous drink, rather rum or tequila was added in its place, carving a third name in relation to the last two, as a Bloody Maria. So it would seem that this recipe became very liberally interpreted to the point that whatever liqueur could be thrown in depending on taste and availability.

The St. Regis King Cole Bar’s Signature cocktail to this very day is The Bloody Mary, in honour of Petiot. Whilst it retained its contents, its name was brought back to its original moniker.  However, the Red Snapper by this point had already carved its own particular path with gin, gaining wide popularity it has stood the test of time and remains a well-established cocktail.  Whether Astor renamed it as a ‘Red Snapper’ based on the appearances of the drink or whether it was called so after the ‘Red Snapper’ fish, fishing being one of Astor’s favorite pastimes, will always be a red-clouded mystery.

Original Recipe:

2 oz. Tomato Juice

2. oz. Vodka

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 pinch Salt

1 pinch Cayenne Pepper

1 dash Lemon Juice

Shake well with ice and serve in a Delmonico glass

As taken from Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion.  M Barrows and Company, NY, *1941*

How to drink it:

It is today often drunk as a brunch cocktail, full of vitamin C and with a bit of fiery pepper to wake you up, it’s hearty contents could bring a bit of spice to your day.


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