You may remember this drink from the 1988 major motion picture “cocktail” starring Tom Cruise as a flair bartender. This drink is much older than we may think, here is an early printing of this drink:
New Canada – Oct 13, 1952 – Page 72 LIFE – Vol. 33, No. 15
Western Workers, stopping in at Leduc, Alberta after a day’s hard work in the oilfields, sit around in the New Waldorf beer parlor and drink “Calgary red-eye.” This drink, a favorite in the area.”
A few months later another publication claims that Calgary is also the place of origin for this drink:
LIFE – Nov 3, 1952 – Page 6 Vol. 33, No. 18
“Sirs: A word on the beer drinking scene: Calgary citizens will be quite ready to accept credit for the “red-eye” as they would anything else, but people have practiced the weird ritual of pouring tomato juice into their beer for many years.”
Unlike as shown in the “Cocktail” movie, the red eye never contained and egg, white or yolk and this ingredient very well might have been introduced to the drink by the movie itself. Here is a publication referring to the term “red eye” and it’s meaning.
Lexical change in present-day English: a corpus-based study – Page 138 by Roswitha Fischer in 1998
“The term red-eye also possesses several homonyms in English. In American slang, it is the name of a strong whiskey and a kind of tomato catsup. In Canadian slang, it refers to a mixed drink made from beer and tomato juice.”
This drink dates between 1945 – 1949 and contained at least as of then:
Build this drink in a chilled beer mug.
Beer (Undetermined Type)
Splash of Tomato Juice