Shaking the ingredients rather than building them in a glass may sound like a faff, especially at Brunch time, but it makes a huge difference. The drink is colder and less dense. You won't think this at first, but the act of making it that way helps a lot if you are hanging in there too. The sound of ice shaking like a maraca, the cold in your hands. It all lifts the mood and the drink tastes better for it!
Chose a big juniper forward gin or something you feel will survive the combo of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
A brief, inebriated history:
When Fernand Petiot moved from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the 1940s he took his 1920 creation – the Bloody Mary, with him. Petiot had become renowned for this concoction and had a vast clientele, including erstwhile barfly Ernest Hemingway. Petiot ended up at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, where the cocktail was given a quick rebrand by his employers, who thought the name too brash.
Petiot took his inspiration for the Bloody Mary from comedian George Jessel, who drank a somewhat brutish version of the drink – just vodka and tomato juice, with no refinements. The Petiot version, of course, used sauces and spices to give it the strong, rich flavour that has made it so ubiquitous today.
One of the first notings of the Red Snapper comes from Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion (1941), and still features vodka at its heart. It wasn’t until the start of the 1960s that the recipe for a Red Snapper made with gin was published. This was in The London Magazine (Volume 2, 1962 edition).
The St Regis King Cole Bar’s signature cocktail remains The Bloody Mary to this very day, it’s name changed back to the original moniker given to it by Petiot. The Red Snapper, by this point, had been carving its own name with gin at the helm and so a name divide stuck – a Bloody Mary for vodka fans and a Red Snapper for gin drinkers.
Original Red Snapper Recipe:
2 oz. tomato juice
2 oz. Gin
½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 dash lemon juice
Shake well with ice and serve in a Delmonico glass
(as printed in Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion. M. Barrows and Company, NY, 1941).