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The Red Snapper cocktail is a Bloody Mary with gin! Swap out the vodka in this classic cocktail and you’ve got an entirely different (and delicious) drink.

Red snapper cocktail
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Here’s a tasty spin on a classic: the Red Snapper cocktail! The name doesn’t betray this drink: though it’s both red and snappy. But it’s holding a secret: it’s essentially a classic Bloody Mary with gin. Switching out the vodka leads to a whole new drink: savory, spicy, tangy, spicy, with a hint of botanical on the finish from the gin. It’s a fun variation on the standard: and even more so to surprise your guests with this unique spin.

What’s in a Red Snapper cocktail?

The Red Snapper is a gin variation on the Bloody Mary that goes back to the 1960’s. The Bloody Mary itself was invented in the 1920’s, and went on to world-wide popularity as a brunch drink and hangover cure. The Red Snapper cocktail as unique to the Bloody Mary was first printed in The London Magazine in 1962 (source). While it’s never garnered the popularity of the original, it’s a unique spin absolutely worth making.

The ingredients in a Red Snapper cocktail are:

  • Gin
  • Tomato juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Horseradish
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
How to make a Red Snapper cocktail

The gin to use for a Red Snapper

There’s so much flavor going on in a Red Snapper, so this is the type of cocktail where you can get away with an economy gin. Of course, the better the gin, the better the drink! But it’s not like a Martini or a Gin and Tonic where it’s all about the gin. Here are some things to know:

  • Every bottle of gin tastes a little different and has different botanical flavors. Experiment to find your favorite!
  • We like Malfy gin, so that’s what we used here.
  • Steer away from Tanqueray gin: in our personal opinion, it gives a strong floral quality.

How to make a Red Snapper cocktail (basic method)

Many of our cocktail recipes are for 1 drink. But this one breaks the mold and makes a mix for 4 drinks! It’s easiest to whip up en masse, and if you only want one drink, you can refrigerate the rest and it improves over time. Here’s how to make a Red Snapper:

  • If you can, chill the tomato juice and gin first. This lets the drink get cold without having to use too much ice to dilute it.
  • Shake in a cocktail shaker without ice. The best way to make a Red Snapper is not shaking or stirring it with ice, like you would with any other cocktail. Why? It dilutes the mix too much and makes for a watery consistency. Simply mix the mixture without ice, then serve it over ice. This results in the perfect, thick consistency and flavor.
  • Strain and if time, chill. Straining removes the chunks of horseradish from the drink: a cocktail strainer is best (though you can use whatever strainer you have). If you have time, chilling the mixture for about 1 hour or overnight lets the flavors meld. But if you want it on demand, serve immediately.
  • Rim the glass and garnish! Serve over ice with the garnishes of your choice.
Red Snapper garnishes

Chilling allows the flavors to meld (optional)

Of course, we know you’ll want to drink your Red Snapper cocktail right away! And you can. But it tastes even better after chilling for 1 hour, or even better overnight. Why? Chilling helps to meld all the ingredients together into a cohesive flavor, instead of tasting them all separately. Since you’ll generally make Red Snapper cocktails for brunch or entertaining, it should be easy enough to whip up the mix in advance and chill until serving.

Best Red Snapper garnishes

There’s nothing like a Bloody Mary to inspire creativity in terms of garnishes! Basically, anything pickled goes. Here are some favorite Red Snapper garnishes to try:

  • Celery (required!)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pimento stuffed olives
  • Cocktail onions
  • Pepperoncini
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Pickled vegetables: jalapeno peppers, pickled okra, pickled cauliflower, or pickled asparagus

Cocktail picks or skewers are best for serving

The easiest way to serve the garnishes is on cocktail picks or skewers. (Of course if you’re solo, you can just throw them all in!) Thread all your garnishes onto the picks or skewers, which looks stunning and helps keep the cocktail easy to drink. Here are the bamboo cocktail picks we use.

Red snapper

Bloody Mary variations

If you’re into this Red Snapper cocktail, there are lots of Bloody Mary variations to try:

This Red Snapper cocktail recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan (with vegan Worcestershire sauce), plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Red snapper cocktail

Red Snapper Cocktail

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 drinks 1x
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The Red Snapper cocktail is a Bloody Mary with gin! Swap out the vodka in this classic cocktail and you’ve got an entirely different (and delicious) drink.


  • 2 cups tomato juice, chilled
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan as desired)
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) gin, chilled
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the rim: Old Bay seasoning (purchased or homemade) and kosher salt
  • For the garnish: celery, lemon wedge, olive, cocktail onion (use cocktail picks if desired)


  1. If time allows, chill the tomato juice and gin. Shake the tomato juice before pouring.
  2. In a large cocktail shaker, combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco, celery salt and black pepper. Shake well to combine (without ice). Strain into a quart mason jar or small pitcher.
  3. Optional: If time, chill at least 1 hour or overnight for the best flavor. (Or, make ahead and store up to 1 week.) But you also can serve right away!
  4. To serve, on a plate place a mixture of roughly half kosher salt and half Old Bay seasoning (or celery salt). Cut a notch in a lemon wedge, then run it around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of salt.
  5. To each glass, add 2 ounces (¼ cup) gin and ½ cup of Red Snapper mix and stir gently to combine. Fill the glass with ice and add the garnishes.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

More gin drinks

Gin is the star in so many of the great cocktails! Here are some great gin cocktails:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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