There's a cocktail trend that somehow didn't make it on my radar until now. Making cocktails, or stocktails, with broth or stock has gained in popularity over the past few years. The concept seems odd at first, but it does makes sense considering the popularity of savory cocktails at the moment.
It also makes sense, considering the fact that there will be leftover stock and broth hanging around our refrigerators after holiday cooking, to explore this trend and take a look at a couple of recipes.
I asked Christy Pope of Cuffs & Buttons and Midnight Rambler Bar in Dallas to talk about the appeal of cocktails made with broth and explain a few things about them. She has created cocktails for Swanson, using the company's organic beef and chicken stocks.
MNN: This is a trend that I've been unaware of. How long has it been trending and how did it begin?
Christy Pope: Broth cocktails were a trend in the '50s and '60s, but as we’ve seen over the past few years, they are making a comeback. The reemergence most likely has to do with pushing the boundaries of savory notes in cocktails, bringing a culinary approach to drinks.
What advice do you have for people to get over the first thought (Will this be good?) and give a cocktail with broth a try?
Initially, it can be surprising to think of broths and stocks in a drink, but the savory qualities of stocktails are actually really nice as an amuse bouche or as hors d'oeuvres. You can think of drinking stocktails as a pre-dinner cocktail or as a brunch cocktail, since a Bloody Mary is a brunch classic.
Does the broth stand out in the drink or would you not know it was there if no one told you?
For well-designed cocktails, you want to make sure each ingredient is notable. Why add it to a cocktail if you don’t want to taste it? Broths add a savory and umami quality to drinks, adding a richness that you may not be able to identify unless being told what’s in it. However, you can identify what it does for the drink – adding texture, mouthfeel, richness and savory notes that help give the cocktail its character.
Are there some spirits that broths work better with?
Similar to food, there are flavors in the broths that are best complemented by certain spirits and that can range from neutral to aromatic. For example, the Swanson Organic Beef Stock in the Bloody Mary complements the flavors of tomato and orange juice, both of which pair well with vodka. Other stock drinks can incorporate Sherry, Aquavit, Genever, Mezcal, Irish Whiskey, and Scotch.
What are some of the best comments people have made when you've served them cocktail made with broth?
Generally it’s a surprise at how balanced the cocktail is. If you’ve never had a broth cocktail, then you can only imagine what it should taste like, and that imagination is based on other assumptions that color your ability to understand the use of broths in this context. People are generally surprised at how much they like the broth cocktails.
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Pope uses Swanson organic broths in her drinks, but you can also make your own broth or stock for cocktails, especially if you have leftover bones and vegetables from holiday cooking. Once you have some stock, try one of these recipes that Pope created
Chicken & Apple Wassail (pictured above)
- ¼ oz (7.5ml) Fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ oz (15ml) Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
- 1 ½ oz (45ml) Swanson Organic Free-Range Chicken Stock
- 1 ½ oz (45ml) Cloudy Apple Cider
- 1 ½ oz (45ml) Laird’s Applejack
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass and add ice. Shake vigorously for proper chill and dilution. Strain ingredients into a cocktail coupe. Grate fresh nutmeg over top for garnish.
Beef Bloody Mary
- ¼ oz (7.5ml) Fresh Squeezed OJ
- 2 oz (60ml) Swanson Organic Beef Stock
- 2 oz (60ml) V8 Tomato Juice
- ½ tsp (2.5ml) Worcestershire Sauce
- ¼ tsp (1.25ml) Tabasco Sauce
- 1/8th tsp Maggi Seasoning OR Bragg Liquid Aminos OR Full Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 ½ oz (45ml) Vodka
- Dash Black Pepper
Measure ingredients into a highball glass and stir to incorporate. Add ice and stir some more for chill and slight dilution. Garnish with a cucumber slice and fresh thyme sprigs.