Red Snapper

Ever wondered if you can make a Bloody Mary with gin? You can, and it’s called the Red Snapper. This flavorful Bloody Mary is a great addition to your repertoire.

a red snapper on a white background with a grey towel

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The Red Snapper: A Bloody Mary with Gin

Gin lovers may have felt left out when it comes to the vodka-based classic Bloody Mary.

But if you think about it… gin is vodka that’s been infused with herbs and spices. The Bloody Mary is a cocktail made with herbs and spices.

You might be asking, haven’t we paired these two together before?!

Well, the Red Snapper — also known as the Bloody Bulldog — has been here a while, but this cocktail is ready for you to give it a try.

Why you’ll love this recipe

There are a lot of reasons to try the Red Snapper:

  • If you love gin, you’ll love seeing what it can do in a savory cocktail.
  • Bloody Mary fans will find gin adds a deeper flavor than vodka.
  • Fully customizable, the Bloody Mary has tons of variations and fun garnishes.
  • It makes a fun party drink for brunches or game day.
a jigger and a bottle of gin with a red snapper drink

What is a Bloody Mary?

A Bloody Mary is a classic cocktail that is the star of brunch hour, possibly ahead of her friend the Mimosa.

Nicknamed “the hangover cure,” it’s a tomato-based cocktail that’s flavored with horseradish, garlic and hot sauce.

These savory cocktails pair well with savory breakfast foods like eggs benedict but also work with sweet dishes like French toast, waffles or pancakes.

It’s a very customizable cocktail, too. You can make it with tequila for a Bloody Maria or you can make it spicy. Gin works incredibly well — its strong, piney flavor is a great match for the savory, peppery flavors in the bloody.

Oh, and then there are the garnishes. The Bloody Mary is known for her crazy presentations, from celery to cheese cubes to cheeseburgers.

A Bloody Mary bar is super fun for a party because guests can build their own with their favorite spirit and garnishes.

History of the Red Snapper

Food Republic reports that the origin of the Red Snapper dates back to post-Prohibition New York City. A French barman named Fernand Petiot left Harry’s Bar in Paris for the King Cole Room for a New York bar.

At Harry’s, Petiot was known for his tomato juice and vodka drink, which was named the Bloody Mary after a customer.

But when he came to the United States, where vodka wasn’t as readily available, he was forced to swap it for gin at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC.

The Astor family, who owned the St. Regis, felt the name Bloody Mary was too gory for their high class customers, so they called it the Red Snapper.

Nowadays, the Bloody Mary is so beloved around the world, it is celebrated on January 1 each year as part of National Bloody Mary Day.

a bottle of tanqueray gin with a Bloody Mary

Ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make a gin Bloody Mary at home:

Best Gin for a Gin Bloody Mary

A London Dry Gin will work best in a Bloody Mary, because they are crisp and don’t have a lot of floral flavor.

These gins do not have to be made in England, but the name does refer to a particular style of gin that originates in London. This style of gin is juniper-forward and has no added artificial ingredients.

A few of the most popular London Dry Gins are Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater, but feel free to try your favorite gin. Check out this guide to choosing a gin to help you decide.

One thing to note is that you should not use a floral-tasting gin, but a cucumber gin would be quite nice in this savory drink.

For this recipe, I used Citadelle Gin, which is one of my favorites. I love the blue bottle, but the flavor can’t be beat. It has notes of juniper and coriander — among many other herbaceous flavors — and it’s so good.

If you like, you can use Ritual gin alternative (affiliate link) to make this a non-alcoholic drink. I love this zero-proof spirit — it actually tastes like gin and it makes a great addition to this cocktail.

Tomato juice

Tomato juice is key to any Bloody Mary recipe! It is a tomato cocktail, after all, so don’t skimp here.

Organic tomato juice is best, but whatever you do, make sure to pick up plain tomato juice that is 100% pure juice with no added sugar. You don’t want your bloodies to be sweet!

If you like, you can use clamato juice instead. It’s a mixture of tomato juice, dried clam broth and spices, and would pair really well with gin in this cocktail.

If you make Bloody Marys regularly, you may prefer to buy cans of tomato juice (rather than a big bottle) to keep on hand when the craving hits. The other condiments can be ready to go in the fridge.

a plate of rim salt with a Bloody Mary

Lemon juice

As with any cocktail, fresh citrus juice is best.

Fresh lemon juice will provide a more natural flavor than bottled concentrate, which tends to be more sour and artificial-tasting. Plus, gin and citrus are a perfect match!

However, the bottled stuff has saved me on more than one occasion, so I always keep it in the fridge. No worries if you need to use it here!

Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a fermented, all-purpose sauce made from vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic and a host of other seasonings.

This must-have condiment is used in tons of dishes like hamburgers, salad dressings, cocktail sauce, so you’ll definitely use it again.

You can find it at any grocery store in the condiments aisle.

Hot sauce

Hot sauce isn’t necessarily hot, but it does add a peppery flavor. If you’re worried about heat, you can skip it.

However, you only need a few dashes of hot sauce, so keep in mind it will dilute and mainly provide peppery flavor.

I prefer a mild to medium spice level. I used my favorite Cholula Hot Sauce for this recipe. I also love this Garlic Habanero hot sauce, which is fairly spicy. I usually do just a few dashes. Start with a few, and you can always add more until you find the right amount of heat for your tastebuds.

There are a number of hot sauce brands on the market, including Tabasco, Cholula, Tapatio, Frank’s Red Hot and Texas Pete.

Horseradish

You know that spicy stuff that’s sometimes spooned onto hot dogs and prime rib? That’s horseradish, a spicy, pungent condiment. It is made from a root vegetable of the same name in the mustard family.

Horseradish plays a key role in the Bloody Mary, giving it a spicy, umami kick.

This condiment comes grated and bottled but you can also make your own prepared horseradish with vinegar and fresh horseradish root.

Be careful not to buy “horseradish sauce.” You are looking for pure, ground, prepared horseradish.

Celery salt

Celery salt is salt that’s mixed with ground celery seeds. This flavorful salt is often used in soups and meat dishes, but it works well in Bloody Marys too.

Since a celery stick is a must-have garnish for a Bloody Mary, this salt infuses more celery flavor into your homemade Bloody Marys.

Sea salt

Finely-ground sea salt is my choice for everyday cooking in my kitchen, but feel free to substitute kosher salt instead. Table salt is generally too salty for drinks.

Black pepper

Freshly-cracked black pepper will always add the most flavor, but you can use pre-ground pepper too. You don’t need a lot!

Bloody Mary rim salt on a black plate, ready to rim cocktails

Bloody Mary salt

While totally optional, adding a rim of flavorful salt to your Bloody Mary is a great way to impart some extra flavor in every sip.

You can make your own Bloody Mary Rim Salt with fine salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a little cayenne pepper, if you like it spicy.

You can also buy pre-mixed Bloody Mary salt to keep on hand if you prefer!

an infographic of Bloody Mary garnish ideas

Red Snapper garnishes

You can go classic of crazy when it comes to Bloody Mary garnishes. I compiled a list of over 100 Bloody Mary toppings, but here are a few that would be perfect for a gin Bloody Mary.

garnishes on top of a red snapper cocktail

How to make a Red Snapper

You can make a gin Bloody Mary with just a few steps. Here’s what to do:

  1. Place Bloody Mary rim salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a Collins or Highball glass (affiliate link). Roll the rim of the glass in the salt to coat the rim. Add ice cubes to the glass.
  2. To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add gin, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, celery salt, sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Shake well and pour into the prepared glass. Embellish with your favorite garnishes.

Bloody Mary bar

If you’d like to make Bloody Marys for a crowd, try setting up a Bloody Mary bar for your next Sunday brunch or other daytime get-together.

Include your favorite Bloody Mary mix, a few types of booze and tons of garnishes and condiments for people to customize their drinks with and dream up their perfect Bloody Mary cocktail.

A party with a Bloody Mary bar is one your guests won’t soon forget!

a gin Bloody Mary on a white background

Variations and substitutions

Make it non-alcoholic. Use Ritual gin alternative (affiliate link), which tastes like gin but without the alcohol. Or skip the alcohol altogether.

Make it spicier. If you like heat, check out this Spicy Bloody Mary.

Use Clamato juice. If you like, you can use Clamato instead of tomato juice.

Use your favorite type of alcohol. If you’re not a fan of gin, check out one of the other types of Bloody Marys below.

More Bloody Mary Recipes

The classic Bloody Mary is usually shaken up with vodka. However, the recipe stands on its own and you can use another type of alcohol instead.

  • To make a Bloody Maria, use either tequila or mezcal.
  • For a Virgin Mary, I like to use zero-proof alcohol or a little bit of olive juice. It can also just be a glass of plain Bloody Mary mix.
  • Whiskey is the star of the Bloody Derby, which has a sweet-and-salty taste thanks to the bourbon.
  • There’s also the Cubanita, which is a rum Bloody Mary.
  • There’s also the Michelada, which is similar to a Bloody Mary and made with beer. However, it doesn’t usually contain the same ingredients as Bloody Mary mix. Instead it uses a simple mixture of tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce and beer.
garnishes on top of a red snapper cocktail

Red Snapper Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A Red Snapper is a Bloody Mary with gin, and it should absolutely be on your brunch menu.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Bloody Mary salt, for rim (optional)
  • 2 ounces London Dry gin
  • 4 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-4 dashes hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • garnishes such as a celery rib, olive or cucumber

Instructions

  1. Rim a highball glass with Bloody Mary salt. Add ice to the glass.
  2. Add ice to the shaker, then top with gin, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, sea salt, black pepper and horseradish. Cover and shake well until combined.
  3. Pour Bloody Mary into the prepared glass. Add a celery rib and other garnishes, if desired.

Notes

Make it non-alcoholic. Use Ritual gin alternative (affiliate link), which tastes like gin but without the alcohol. Or skip the alcohol altogether.

Make it spicier. If you like heat, check out this Spicy Bloody Mary.

Use Clamato juice. If you like, you can use Clamato instead of tomato juice.

Use your favorite type of alcohol. If you’re not a fan of gin, check out one of the other types of Bloody Marys above.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2615mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

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