Bone broth is replacing coffee and tea in cardboard cups across many parts of the country, but is America ready for stock in their cocktails? Some bartenders seem to think so, stirring and shaking animal stock and bone broth into cocktails served warm and chilled to add a new savory element to seasonal drinking.
And while the “stock-tail” trend has yet to catch on en masse, using broth in cocktails is nothing groundbreaking. “Stock-tails are not new,” says Christy Pope of consulting and catering company Cuffs & Buttons and Dallas’ Midnight Rambler. “Classic cocktails like the Bull Shot show historic precedent.” She attributes the current interest in the health benefits of bone broths for making stock-tails popular yet again. At Midnight Rambler, Pope has been serving the Pho-King Champ stock-tail (wheat vodka, oloroso sherry, aromatized beef stock and cilantro) since the bar opened in 2014.
You’re most likely to find stock-tails in restaurant bars, where stock can easily be made in the kitchen, perhaps from leftover bones, though store-bought stocks that don’t congeal when cool can also work in stock-tail mixology.
To create a stock-tail, Pope recommends using broth, rather than water, as the diluent in the drink, and from there, anything is possible. “Broths play well with most spirits, both neutral and aromatic,” she says. She’s paired applejack, gin and vodka with Swanson chicken and beef broths and stocks and has also made stock drinks incorporating sherry, aquavit, genever, mezcal, Irish whiskey and scotch.
When it comes to stock-tails, the opportunities are endless, but these five recipes will start you on brothy greatness.
1. Sweet & Sour Chicken Toddy
Warm chicken soup may be your go-to on a sick day, but why not startle that base with some gin and juice? This chicken-stock-based Hot Toddy by Pope turns your sick day into a party of sorts. Free-range chicken broth is mixed with dry gin, fresh lime juice, pineapple syrup and a dose of Sriracha for a spicy wallop. It tastes so good, you might find yourself calling in “sick” more often.
2. Chicken Soup Hot Toddy
This riff on the traditional Hot Toddy by Johnny Swet of Jimmy at The James hotel in New York City plays up chicken soup’s savoriness. Floral gin is combined with hot chicken stock, fresh lemon juice and celery bitters, and the garnish is very chicken-soup-appropriate: carrot and celery sticks, plus a sprig of fresh parsley. The cocktail will cure what ails you, and who doesn’t want a garnish that doubles as a crunchy snack?
3. Duck Hunt
Ambitious home cooks who want to add fancy French flavors to their cocktail glasses should try this duck-stock-based drink by Eric Rivera, the executive chef at Seattle’s The Bookstore Bar & Café. The homemade duck stock is mixed with absinthe and alpine liqueur and then garnished with juniper, rosemary and caraway seeds for an herbal and aromatic treat that will seriously impress your dinner guests.
4. Bone & Bacon
Those who can’t resist a smoky cocktail or order the first drink on the menu promising a garnish of cured meat should stir up this meaty, four-ingredient bourbon drink. It comes from Dylan Holcomb of Denver’s Beatrice & Woodsley and Mario’s Double Daughter’s Salotto, and it begins with bacon-flavored bourbon. Averna amaro adds a hint of bitterness while a few dashes of walnut bitters round things out. But we’re not done. The cocktail is stirred with bison bone broth ice cubes and garnished with a beef rib. Yep, a beef rib.
5. Chicken & Apple Wassail
Those who seek comfort from slurping a bowl of chicken soup can enjoy the savory flavors of chicken broth paired with autumnal apple during any season. To make it, Pope combines chilled broth with Applejack, apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup and Angostura bitters, and the drink is garnished with a dusting of nutmeg. This elegant chicken cocktail can put a smile on your face when you’re feeling ill. Even if you’re not sick, this drink might be the answer (or at least a fun experiment) for fighting off your next cold.