Classic Cocktail: Redless Snapper

A gin-based version of the Bloody Mary

Photo: Stacey Van Berkel

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

    • 1 1/2 - 2 oz. Cardinal gin

    • Tomato water (recipe below)

    • 2 dashes celery salt

    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • 2-4 dashes hot sauce

    • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

  • Tomato Water

    • 6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced

    • 3 tsp. fresh lime juice

    • 1/2 green or red pepper

    • 1/2 small garlic clove

    • 1-2 tsp. fresh horseradish

    • 1 jalapeño (optional)

    • Salt and pepper

  • Optional Garnishes

    • Lemon and lime wedges

    • California olives

    • Pickled okra

    • Pickled green bean

    • Pickled carrot

    • Pickled garlic

    • Cornichon

    • Celery stalk


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

  2. 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.

  3. For the tomato water:

    Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.

  4. 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)

Recipe from Kevin Barrett of Foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina