It may seem like bone broth cocktails are a recent invention borne of the bone broth craze, but you may be surprised to know that they’ve been around for a long time. Or you may not be surprised, because it makes sense that a Bloody Mary should not be our only savory cocktail, and who wouldn’t want the comforting umami of broth paired with a kick of booze? Broth cocktails have been around for a long time, whether they're drunk hot from a thermos in the U.K., or in an old-fashioned Bull Shot. "I think broth really adds a certain complexity and savory aspect to a cocktail that wouldn't be possible otherwise," says Shawn Chen, the Beverage Director at RedFarm. And there are some more modern ways to add it to your cocktail repertoire.
Think About Quality
"Like all good cocktails, what spirits you use will directly affect your finished product, so the quality of the broth definitely matters," says Chen. Canned broth works fine in a pinch, but homemade broth will not only taste better, it will let you experiment with flavors and infusions. For instance, using star anise and ginger in the broth for more South Asian flavors, or tomato and oregano.
Think About Complimentary Flavors
The thing about broth cocktails that rubs a lot of people the wrong way is that broth has a really strong flavor that can sometimes overpower anything else in a cocktail. So think of the flavor of your spirit when adding broth. "I think one basic and important thing to keep in mind while using broth in cocktails is about finding balance and complementary flavors in the broth and your choice of spirit," says Chen. "If your broth is very savory and strong, you don't want to pair it with an equally powerful spirit, like peated scotch." However, all types of broths and spirits can be used, whether it’s a classic beef broth with vodka pairing, or something more delicate like shrimp broth and sake.
Think About Food Pairings
Given that broth is more often part of your meal than your drink pairing, it's important to consider what you may be eating alongside it. Chen says "big, bold broth flavors should be paired with rich and heavier dishes, and light, delicate broth flavors should be paired with lighter and cleaner dishes," similar to wine pairings. Though if you’re getting your broth and booze in one glass, who needs a meal?