The Return of the Broth Cocktail (and the Evolution of the ‘Bull Shot’)

Have your steak and drink it too.

Broth isn’t just a savory backdrop for chicken and noodles. It’s a warming drink. It’s a weird way to take a bath. It’s anything you want a liquid to be and – let’s get to the point – a great base for winter cocktails. While not technically a new style of mixed drink, broth cocktails are back one menus across America. We’re celebrating by going another round.

According to many accounts, the classic broth cocktail, know as the “Bull Shot,” was created in Detroit at the Caucus Club in 1952. “The drink is basically a beefy Bloody Mary, using beef broth in place of tomato juice yielding another salty/savory drink, as an alternative to the usual sweet profile of most mixed drinks,” says Chad Solomon, co-owner and bartender at Midnight Rambler in Dallas. It was immediately popular and became a national sensation before losing favor in the sixties.

Solomon and his business partner Christy Pope are looking to bring back the Bull while also giving it a modern twist. To that end, they’ve created the “The Pho-King Champ” (a tribute to the San Francisco prog-rock group The Fucking Champs), which is pretty much aromatized Vietnamese lunch spiked with vodka and Oloroso Sherry, a drink so simple you can make it with leftover takeout.

“We roast onions and ginger in the oven, and use star anise, cassia bark, green cardamom, black cardamom, and black pepper to aromatize the broth,” says Solomon. “Any drinks playing in the savory or umami arena are a natural fit for broth.”

Maybe the best thing about a broth drink: You can sauce it up without ruining it. If you’re ordering a Pho shot or a Bull Shot, bring your Sriracha, Hoisin, or – screw it – your own MSG. You can order something, but you’re always going to end up making it yourself.