History of the Venom: Glasgow’s green cocktail origins, variations, and recipes

Venoms are one of Scotland’s most popular cocktails - but did you know that the bright green drink was born in Glasgow?

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Is there anything more Glaswegian than a pint of Venom? It’s luminous green colour is recognisable to say the least - but how did the cocktail come to be?

It’s the city’s most popular cocktail - and was actually created in Glasgow in 2008. Cocktail expert, and world renowned DJ, Ross McGregor, created the Venom 14 years ago.

McGregor could never have predicted the popularity of the Venom - which quickly became a club and pub staple across Scotland. It got to the point where some pubs won’t even serve the cocktail now due to its hard-nut / night-life connotations.

Much like the older ‘Snakebite’ cocktail, rumours began to swirl that it was actually illegal to serve the drink. This is just an urban myth however - it’s perfectly legal to serve Snakebite, Venom, and even a Black Velvet - stout topped with champagne - in a Scottish pub (although we think that last one shouldn’t be served ever, legal or otherwise).

Venoms almost glow in the dark with their bright green colouration - and are most commonly served in a pint glass. Before the venom was a well-known classic, bar workers would be inundated with requests for ‘that green drink’ - such was the grassroots popularity of the drink.

The sweet green drink packs a real surprising punch with a tangy aftertaste - thanks to its contents of: one part vodka, one part southern comfort, a bottle of Blue WKD / VK, and fresh orange juice. The colour comes from the orange juice mixing with the blue vodka mix of the Blue WKD / VK

The price of a pint of venom varies wildly - rising fast with the cost of inflation across Glasgow. The cheapest place we could find for a pint of venom was Corrigans in Wishaw - which continues to run a £5 Venom deal.

In some establishments, you can buy venoms in towers - which offer punters the chance to grab litres of the cocktail for a discounted price. Venoms are even served abroad in tourist destinations like Magaluf - where you can find the green cocktail served in fishbowls, shot glasses, and just about any receptacle that can hold the bold bright drink.

Grace’s Irish Bar just off Argyle Street serve Venom’s in jugs.Grace’s Irish Bar just off Argyle Street serve Venom’s in jugs.
Grace’s Irish Bar just off Argyle Street serve Venom’s in jugs.

There’s several variations of the humble Venom, coming in a number of different yet equally bright colours (unfortunately none in blue though, sorry Rangers fans)! One variation is the ‘Pink Gin Venom’ – each bar makes their own Venom, their own way.

Club Tropicana, a club on Renfield Street goes by the following recipe for their Pink Gin Venom: 25ml shot of Gordon’s Pink Gin, a 25ml shot of Smirnoff Vodka, a 275ml bottle of Strawberry WKD/VK, and a mix with lemonade.

If you’re interested in making your own Venom at home, Club Tropicana shared their recipe! Have a look:

  1. Fill a pint glass with some ice
  2. Add a 25ml shot of your favourite vodka
  3. Add 25ml shot of Southern Comfort.
  4. Pour a 275ml bottle of Blue WKD/VK into the glass
  5. Top off the drink with orange juice and watch the colour satisfyingly turn from blue to a bright luminous green
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