Red Eye Cocktail Recipe

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Red Eye Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Red Eye cocktail is said to have originated in the 1960s and gained popularity in the 1980s. It is often associated with the movie 'Cocktail' starring Tom Cruise. This drink is known for its hangover-curing properties and is a favorite among those who enjoy a savory cocktail.

  • Origin: 1960s
  • Popularity: 1980s
  • Movie association: 'Cocktail'

How Red Eye Tastes?

The Red Eye cocktail has a savory, tangy, and slightly spicy taste. It is a well-balanced mix of tomato juice, beer, and vodka, with a hint of citrus from the lemon.

Interesting facts about Red Eye

  • Hangover cure: The Red Eye is known for its hangover-curing properties.
  • Savory cocktail: This drink is a favorite among those who enjoy savory cocktails.
  • Movie association: The Red Eye gained popularity after being featured in the movie 'Cocktail' starring Tom Cruise.


A few good options for Red Eye are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

Tomato Juice

An integral part of any Red Eye cocktail, the 4 oz of tomato juice provide the vegetable base and a refreshing yet savory flavor profile. Less tomato juice could make the drink less hearty and more tomato juice could overwhelm the balance of other flavors.

Alex Green


4 oz of beer add a fizzy carbonation and slight bitterness that interacts well with the richness of the tomato. Different beers can alter the taste significantly—a stout could make it richer, while a pilsner keeps it lighter.

Emma Rose


The 1 oz of vodka gives the cocktail its kick without overpowering the other flavors. Too much could make the cocktail too boozy, too little and you might question if it's a cocktail at all!

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

At 0.5 oz, the lemon juice adds a zesty freshness and acidity that balances the heavier flavors. If omitted, the drink could become flat in flavor. Substituting with lime juice could add a tropical twist.

Alex Green

Hot Sauce

A dash of hot sauce introduces a slight heat that warms the palate, enhancing the cocktail's complexity. Too much would overpower, too little would make it tame. Alternately, using a smoky chipotle sauce could give a different heat profile.

Emma Rose

Worcestershire Sauce

Another dash of Worcestershire sauce adds umami and depth. Without it, you might miss the subtle savoriness it brings. Some say soy sauce could be an alternative, though the flavor profile will shift.

Mary Mitkina

Ground Black Pepper

Just a pinch to add a quick spicy kick without overwhelming the cocktail. This common seasoning is easy to adjust to taste. No black pepper might leave the cocktail tasting a bit dull.

Alex Green

Ground White Pepper

A pinch of white pepper contributes a mild heat and a different earthiness compared to black pepper. It's less common and can be omitted for a simpler flavor.

Emma Rose

Ground Cayenne Pepper

Lastly, a pinch of cayenne turns up the heat for those who like a bit of a challenge in their drink. Without it, the cocktail is more mellow—suitable for a less adventurous palate.

Mary Mitkina

Ice Cubes

6 ice cubes cool the drink without diluting it quickly, maintaining the integrity of the cocktail's flavor. No ice means a warm and potentially unpleasant cocktail experience.

Alex Green


The celery stalk adds a crunchy, fresh element upon which to munch, while the lemon wedge can be squeezed for additional zest. Without them, the cocktail lacks the final touch that elevates the presentation and flavor.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Red Eye Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  2. Add vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper, ground white pepper, and ground cayenne pepper.
  3. Stir well to combine.
  4. Top with beer and give it a gentle stir.
  5. Garnish with a celery stalk and a lemon wedge.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ingredients: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and high-quality vodka can make a big difference in the taste.
  • Adjust the spices: The amount of hot sauce and pepper can be adjusted according to personal preference.
  • Chill the beer: Using cold beer can help to keep the cocktail cool for longer.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Meats: The savory notes of the cocktail complement the charred flavors of grilled beef or chicken.
  • Fried Foods: Fried dishes like fish and chips or fried chicken can be cut through by the tanginess of the tomato and lemon.
  • Mexican Cuisine: The heat from the hot sauce and peppers pairs perfectly with tacos or nachos.

Drink Pairings

  • Cold, Crisp Lager: Another beer works well if you're inclined to keep the buzz beer-centric.
  • Bloody Mary: If you want to stick to a thematic brunch feel, a classic Bloody Mary is a good match.
  • Iced Tea: For a non-alcoholic complement, the refreshment of iced tea is a nice balance.

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What you could change in Red Eye

  • Tomato juice: Can be replaced with Clamato juice for a different flavor.
  • Vodka: Can be substituted with gin or tequila.
  • Beer: Non-alcoholic beer can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with R here

And of course - twists🍹

Michelada Red Eye

  • Swap beer with a Mexican lager and add a salted rim to your glass. Use Clamato instead of plain tomato juice for an oceanic twist.
  • Ingredients: Mexican lager, Clamato juice, vodka, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper, ice, and a salted rim.
  • Taste: Expect a saltier, brinier drink that brings you closer to a traditional Michelada.

Spicy Red Eye Mary

  • Double the hot sauce and add horseradish to really kick the spice level up a notch. Incorporate olive brine for a dirty twist.
  • Ingredients: Tomato juice, beer, vodka, lemon juice, extra hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper, horseradish, olive brine, ice.
  • Taste: Spicier, deeper flavors with a tang from the brine. A spicy affair for the bold.

Canadian Red Eye

  • Instead of vodka, use Canadian whisky, and add maple syrup for a hint of sweetness. Top with a Canadian craft beer.
  • Ingredients: Tomato juice, Canadian craft beer, Canadian whisky, lemon juice, maple syrup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground pepper, ice.
  • Taste: A more complex, slightly sweet and woodsy flavor profile, showcasing Canadian twists.

In case you forgot basics how to make Red Eye

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Red Eye

What is the Red Eye cocktail?

The Red Eye cocktail is a savory drink made with tomato juice, beer, and vodka, and it has a tangy, slightly spicy taste. It has gained popularity in the 1980s and is known for its hangover-curing properties.

What food pairs well with this cocktail?

As the Red Eye cocktail is savory and spicy, it pairs well with a variety of appetizers and main courses. Try it with nachos, wings, a cheese platter, or even a juicy steak.

Is there any non-alcoholic version of Red Eye cocktail?

Yes, there are non-alcoholic versions of the Red Eye cocktail. You can replace the vodka and beer with non-alcoholic alternatives while keeping the rest of the ingredients.

Is the Red Eye cocktail suitable for all types of diets?

Unless you are on a non-alcoholic or low sodium diet, the Red Eye cocktail should be suitable for most diets.

How should the Red Eye Cocktail be served?

The Red Eye cocktail is best served in a highball glass with lots of ice. The glass is typically garnished with a celery stalk and a lemon wedge.

Can I shake the cocktail?

No, it's not recommended. Shaking the cocktail can dilute the flavors and introduce extra air into the drink. The Red Eye is better when mixed gently.

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