Red Beer (Red Eye)

Red eye beer in a glass with a lime wedge

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
204 Calories
0g Fat
29g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 204
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 328mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 82mg 408%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 364mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Call it a red beer, or a red eye, or a tomato beer, just don't call it a bloody mary. This is a very simple beer drink, and although it's similar to a bloody mary, and some people mistakenly call it that, it is clearly not.

The bloody mary has a vodka base, while the beer is used to mix up the red eye. The recipe is also much simpler and really could not get much easier. To make it, you'll simply top your beer with a little tomato juice and add a pinch of salt.

This is a great drink for brunch, and you'll find it perfect for watching your favorite college team play a midmorning game. The red beer also is also considered a super-easy "hair of the dog" option for hangovers.

“I wanted more than mimosas on my brunch drink menu. Ta-da! Red Beer is a delightfully refreshing Bloody Mary version, kind of. Spice it up by starting with a Bloody Mary Mix or have hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and limes on hand to personalize the drink. The lime gives it a nice perky punch.” —Mary Jo Romano 

Red eye beer in a glass with lime wedges
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 ounces tomato juice, more to taste

  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle lager beer

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 lime wedge, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for red eye beer gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Pour the tomato juice into a beer mug.

    Tomato juice in a glass beer mug

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Fill with beer.

    Tomato juice and beer in a glass beer mug

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add salt and more tomato juice to taste, if desired, and stir.

    Tomato juice and beer in a glass beer mug

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Serve and enjoy with the lime wedge, if desired.

    Red eye beer with a lime wedge in a glass mug

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Make a Better Red Beer

Choose the beer: Any beer can be used in the red eye, although you will find light lagers work best. There's no need to pour your good beer into this drink, so save the IPAs, stouts, and ales for drinking on their own.

Spice it up: You also can dress up this drink's flavor in the same way you would a bloody mary. If you happen to have ​a bloody mary mix in the refrigerator, go ahead and use that. Everything you need is right there, and you'll get a very flavorful drink.

Should you opt for the straight pour of tomato juice, don't skip the salt. It marries the two flavors together, which is why bartenders will often give you a salt shaker when you order a red beer. Just a pinch will do and be sure not to overdo it because it can quickly become too salty.


If you like, add a dash of hot sauce, a grind of pepper, or a pinch of celery salt to the mix. Be sure to go slow, stir the drink, and give it a taste before adding anything else. After a red beer or two, you'll find the perfect combination for your personal taste.

How Strong Is the Red Beer?

Depending on how you build it, the bloody mary often weighs in somewhere around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). It's a relatively light cocktail, which is why it's long been a morning favorite.

Even though we're pouring more beer into the red eye, the absence of liquor makes this a considerably weaker drink. If you begin with a 5.0 percent ABV beer, the finished red eye will be brought down to a mere 4.2 percent ABV.

Recipe Tags: