Classic Cocktail: Redless Snapper

Stacey Van Berkel
North Carolina - February/March 2014

A gin-based version of the Bloody Mary

Kevin Barrett>Visit the Southern Cocktail Guide Main Page

Bartender: Kevin Barrett
The Bar: Foundation

At the brick-walled Raleigh bar Foundation, tucked below street level, manager and cocktail director Kevin Barrett uses local ingredients such as Cardinal gin, from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, to lend a sense of place to his drinks. His take on the Red Snapper, a gin-based variation on the Bloody Mary, is a smoother quaff than the original but just as flavorful, thanks to homemade tomato water and Barrett’s garnish trifecta of a citrus wedge, an olive, and something pickled. For an added kick, he likes to lightly rim the glass in Old Bay. “But don’t just smash the top of the glass into a pile of seasoning,” he says. “Be a poet, not a gladiator.”

Lemon or lime wedges
Old Bay seasoning
1½ –2 oz. Cardinal gin
Tomato water (see recipe)
2 dashes celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2–4 dashes hot sauce
1–2 dashes Worcestershire sauce 

Run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of a pint glass.

Roll the outside rim in Old Bay. Next, fill the glass with ice, pour in gin, and top off with tomato water. Add celery salt, pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Roll from one glass into another and back to mix, and garnish
 as desired.

Tomato Water

6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 tsp. fresh lime juice
½ green or red pepper
½ small garlic clove
1–2 tsp. fresh horseradish
1 jalapeño (optional)
Salt and pepper 

Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a saucepan over medium heat. When puree turns from pink to dark red, remove from heat. Ladle liquid through a strainer lined with a thin cloth or several layers of cheesecloth into a heatproof bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store liquid in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. Yields about 6 drinks.

Optional Garnishes
Lemon and lime wedges
California olives
Pickled okra
Pickled green bean
Pickled carrot
Pickled garlic
Celery stalk

Illustration by Joe Ciardiello