It’s an excellent addition to any New York City brunch order.

Melanie Lieberman
December 28, 2016

After a long day sightseeing around New York City—admiring the famous department store window displays or photographing the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree—nothing refreshes the holiday spirit (or warms the hands) quite like a craft cocktail.

As part of a new series, Travel + Leisure is highlighting the very best cocktails to cozy up with on cold New York City days. And where to get them. Our next stop is the St. Regis New York in Midtown, home to one of the world’s most revered hotel bars: the King Cole. Timeless and classic, with oak-paneled walls and a Maxfield Parrish mural of Old King Cole, this is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary.

St. Regis’s signature drink (and the essential accompaniment to a hearty brunch) appears in different iterations at every hotel, like the Aloha Mary at the St. Regis Princeville in Hawaii, which boasts Kauai guava wood smoked sea salt. Here, in New York City, it’s known fondly as the Red Snapper.

The King Cole’s bartender, Bill Dante, told Travel + Leisure that January 1 is National Bloody Mary Day. And in 2017, almost perfectly timed to the so-called holiday, the lounge will serve its 1 millionth Red Snapper.

French bartender Fernand Petiot is thought to have crafted the first Bloody Mary in Paris—but he officially brought it to the St. Regis in 1934.

“We serve several hundred of these every weekend,” Dante said. “It’s much loved, and people come here from all over the world to have this drink in this bar.”

When Dante crafts a Red Snapper, he starts with two ounces of vodka, a pinch of black and white pepper, respectively, and two pinches of celery salt.

Next, a pinch of cayenne—“A very small pinch of cayenne,” Dante warned. “Very important. Don’t overdo the cayenne because the drink will come out much too hot.”—and about half an ounce of lemon juice.

Date recommends finishing the cocktail with a good amount of Worcestershire sauce, because you want to judge its completion by the color (though three dashes is a safe bet). Toss everything together into a glass and add a wedge of lemon.

“The original Bloody Mary was not served with celery sticks,” said Dante, “or olives, or any of that business.” A simple, straightforward slice of lemon is all you need. Try it with Sunday brunch at the hotel’s Astor Court restaurant.

Red Snapper Bloody Mary Recipe

2 ounces vodka  

2 ounces tomato juice

.5 ounces lemon juice

2 pinches celery salt

1 pinch white pepper

1 pinch black pepper

1 small pinch cayenne pepper

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Lemon wedge, to garnish

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