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Apr 30, 2022

The British Bloody Mary

The British Bloody Mary, made with gin instead of vodka, adds a hint of botanical flavor to this classic brunch cocktail. 

Two bloody Marys in tall glasses.

Have you ever had a Bloody Mary with gin? Even if you are not a gin lover, there's a good chance that you will love the additional flavors that gin brings to this drink. 

For the British Bloody Mary, you swap out the vodka for gin. While vodka is flavorless and is there strictly as alcohol, the gin brings extra flavor to the cocktail, neither diluting the cocktail nor hiding the alcohol's presence. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good Bloody Mary with vodka, especially when I want the flavors of the Bloody Mary mixture to shine without adding any extra flavors, or if I'm using a substitution for the red tomatoes in the concoction. 

However, for a classic Bloody Mary, my favorite spirit just might be gin. 

Bloody Marys in two glasses with peanuts in a bowl on the side.

There is even speculation that gin was the first spirit in this cocktail when the Bloody Mary first made its debut. Some say vodka wasn't even yet invented. Either way, there is room in the world of the Bloody Mary for many variations, including tequila and soju (a Korean spirit). 

Gins to use in a Bloody Mary:

You can't go wrong with a London dry gin such as Tanqueray, Beefeater, Gordon's, or Bombay. The flavor is clean and distinctly juniper. The rule for London dry gins is that no flavor can be added after distillation. 

There is also a myriad of available distilled gins these days, including those flavored with additional botanicals. In fact, it seems like gin has made a huge resurgence over the past 10 years. Just head to your favorite spirits store and check out the choices in the ever expanding gin section. 

There are even bars in London that host gin tastings, similar to wine bars. 

My two new favorite gins for martinis are St. George and The Botanist. They are both infused with lots of botanical flavors. However, for a Bloody Mary, I'm perfectly happy with Tanqueray or other London Dry gins for their piney juniper flavor. 

I would recommend experimenting with various gins to find your favorite! We've developed quite a collection. 

Two The British Bloody Mary cocktails with two bottles of gin in the background.

The classic gin Bloody Mary's name is the Red Snapper, but most bartenders are probably not familiar with this name. If you want to order one, I suggest just ordering a Bloody Mary and asking the bartender to substitute your favorite gin for the vodka. 

After trying this cocktail, you may no longer think of a Bloody Mary as a hangover cure, "tomato smoothie," or "salad in a glass." Plus, nevermind the full meal garnishments (like sliders!). Just the basics such as olives, pickled veggies, cherry tomatoes, limes, and celery are the perfect accompaniments...  a couple of crab claws or jumbo shrimp will work too if you want to get fancy. 

This Bloody Mary will totally elevate your Sunday or Mother's Day Brunch. Enjoy it with spicy Spanish olives and patatas panaderas for a tapas-style snack. 

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Originally published in December, 2012 and updated in April, 2022. 

One tall gin bloody Mary in a glass.

The British Bloody Mary (The Red Snapper Cocktail)

The British Bloody Mary (The Red Snapper Cocktail)
Yield: 1 cocktail
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 10 MinTotal time: 10 Min
The British Bloody Mary, made with gin instead of vodka, adds a hint of botanical flavor to this classic brunch cocktail.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces low sodium tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of prepared horseradish
  • Minced jalapeno to taste
  • Pinch of minced garlic
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Squeeze of Sriracha sauce, the amount is up to how spicy you want your cocktail. I use quite a bit.


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large (2 cup or more) glass measuring cup. Stir. Pour into an ice filled Tom Collins glass.
  2. Garnish.
  3. Enjoy.
  4. Recipe can be easily scaled (doubled or more).

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British Mary, Bloody Mary, Red Snapper
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I finally tried a bloody mary a few years ago, and immediately fell in love! I will for sure have to try a British mary now. I love your addition of jalapenos! Take care, Terra

  2. Oh wow, I have to try this over break ... Looks delicious!

  3. My husband is a huge bloody Mary fan, we'll have to give this version a try!

  4. I have a friend who loves bloody Mary's. I think this one is going to be a hit for her.

  5. I love Bloodies and would totally give this a try. My oldest is a real gin lover so she'd be right on board!

  6. Stunning! Lovely flavors in this drink and is a perfect treat for mom!

  7. I am totally going to try this. I love gin!! And it sounds delicious.


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