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Photo: neil conway on Flickr

True confession time: I’ve never been a Bloody Mary fan. To me the drink tastes too much of tinny, thick tomato juice and horseradish, and not enough like hooch. So I’ve spent my brunch drinking hours sipping less than satisfying mimosas and the odd Screwdriver — until a chance meeting with Angus Winchester, Global Brand Ambassador for Tanqueray Gin, gave me a new go-to drink. 

While discussing the many uses of gin, Angus let me know that you could make a bloody with the spirit. The botanicals and spice of the gin stand up against the tomato juice in an entirely different way than neutral-spirit vodka for a transcendent brunch drink. It’s called the Red Snapper.

The historical origins of the Red Snapper date to post-Prohibition New York City, when French barman extraordinaire Fernand “Pete” Petiot left Harry’s Bar in Paris to for the King Cole Room at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC. At Harry’s in Paris, Petiot was famed for a tomato juice and vodka drink that was named the Bloody Mary after a customer.

When he brought the drink to New York, Petiot was forced to swap out the vodka, which was hard to come by in the U.S., for gin. And then the Astor family, which owned the St. Regis, deemed the name Bloody Mary far too gory and déclassé for high society. So the Red Snapper was born.

If, like me, the Bloody Mary bums you out, try this instead. It might become your go-to brunch drink as well.