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Tomato juice as a beverage -- ideas for jazzing it up?

 
gardener
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Hey, a little background to this question.  I am currently cutting back on my alcohol consumption.   No dramatic abjuration of the demon rum, just reducing the number of times I pour booze into a glass out of routine habit, boredom, or actual thirst.  I'd rather booze mindfully but perhaps less routinely.

While introspecting about this, I realized that one thing I enjoy about booze is having strong and complex flavors in my beverage.  Having a flavorful beverage at hand also helps cuts down on episodes of random snacking.  So one of the "things to pour in a glass" substitutes I've taken up is commercial tomato juice, which I have been "jazzing up" a bit with dashes of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  (I also cut it by adding about 30% cold filtered water to my glass, as my palate finds store-shelf-strength stuff too soupy for beverage use.)

This post is to solicit suggestions for other additives and adulterants (mixers) I can stir into my tomato juice to vary or complexify its flavor.  When I go to my liquor cabinet, I don't limit myself to one or two standard drinks every time; I mix up something different with every visit.  So right now I am trying to figure out what else might be good in a glass of tomato juice, that I haven't thought of yet.

One obvious direction is to mix in other vegetable juices (V-8 tastes better than tomato juice, natch, but it's also twice as expensive.)  I do have a juicer but not a lot of surplus in my winter garden, and I can't see buying stuff from a thousand miles away at this time of year just to be juicing it.  So, in my mind, adding other vegetable juices is a scheme for the future, when I can juice stuff that I've grown myself.  It's also not what's really wanted here, because I'm trying to replace the habit of stepping to my liquor cabinet.  So I need suggestions on the level of complexity and time commitment of mixing a cocktail, not projects that would need me to dirty up the kitchen and wash out my juicer.

So let's hear it!  How do you like your tomato juice?
 
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A bit of lime, some horseradish, some celery salt, dash of vinegar, some fresh ground pepper, the Worcestershire sauce of course and some tobasco - oh wait, that’s Bloody Mary mix....
 
pollinator
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Clam juice is a classic addition. Also I'd expect you could find some interesting flavors with bitter/sour juices like pomegranate. In the other direction I think you could go with maple syrup and bubbly water.
I also think you.might be able to find some pleasant south east Asian flavors with fish sauce, ginger, and basil.
 
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My favourite way to drink it is slightly watered, over ice, and with a generous amount of freshly squeezed lemon and a dash of pepper.

Another good one: water it, add a solid shot of jalapeno juice (the brine that pickled jalapenos sit in), a couple drops of Worchestershire, and a green olive (the bigger the better).
 
pollinator
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Canada's unofficial national beverage:
Ceasar (cocktail)

I like a double, but you can add a little splash of pickle juice and drink it virgin too.
 
master pollinator
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There are many such sites on the net. Here is one www.sacramentotomatojuice.com/nonalcoholictomatojuice.php
 
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I love tomato juice, and alas, I can no longer drink it! I have lupus and nightshades cause flare-ups. Sad!

But...in the past, I drank it mixed with grapefruit juice and/or a splash of lime...maybe add a pinch of salt if it's unsalted. Yes, Tabasco...try the chipotle kind. Of course, you could spice it up! Garlic powder, black pepper, basil (fresh or dried), a tiny bit of cumin. Nutritional yeast sounds like it would be good...never tried it. Might make it too soupy for you. Oh! Sauerkraut juice! Kimchi juice! Options are endless. :D
 
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I'm with Chris: All hail the victorious, happy and glorious Caesar coctail!

I know a chef who makes it with golden tequila instead of vodka.

When I'm the designated driver and booze-limited, I have them make it very, very spicy. Habanero as well as tabasco. Sipping that liquid fire, very slowly, I get an endorphin rush that's really quite pleasant.
 
pollinator
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Pepper and salt is my default for tomato juice, preferably over ice.

Not quite alcohol free: homemade 1% alcohol ginger ale with lots of ginger is tasty and refreshing with a bite, especially if you add lemon or hot sauce.

Complex flavours:
Pomegranate syrup mixed with orange juice
Rose water or orange water mixed with juice
Lemonade (lemon juice, water, sugar, and a slice or two of real lemon with the Peel for flavour in the bottle). Also works with added mint, basil, ginger, etc.

Faster:
- iced tea, with a slice of lemon for the bitterness.
-iced lavender basil tea
- various veggies fruits and herbs in water (cucumbers, tomatos, mint, basil, ginger, melon, berries, celery)
- hot cocoa with cinnamon or vanilla
 
pollinator
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Kirkland (costco) brand italian sparkling water is actually from italy and it has tons of tasty minerals in it. Plus it comes in a huge case for pretty cheap. Would be delicious w/ tomato juice
 
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Another vote for clam juice.
Add some Worcestershire sauce, some spicy cock sauce, and a stick of celery or drunken bean.  

In Canada, we have a name brand drink called Clamato juice.  Clams + tomato juice.  It's very good.  The locals use it in a kind of bloody mary drink called a Ceaser, but I find it waters down the taste too much.  Much better to have it 'dry'.  
 
Dan Boone
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Thanks for all the lovely suggestions!

I have additional questions about "clam juice", which is not an ingredient I'm familiar with or know how to use.  It's sold here in a tiny glass bottle (holds one cup, 8 ounces) for close to three bucks -- more even than a half-gallon of tomato juice!  I always assumed it was basically a saltwater byproduct from clam processing, so I would be paying booze prices for "fishy salt water".  Never saw the value proposition, so I haven't actually tried it.

So, how is it used?  In tiny amounts as a condiment?  In a 50/50 mix?  Or somewhere in between?  Is it salty?  Is it more about flavor, or about giving your drink that "ocean beach seaweed pile" smell?

We do have Clamato here, but I've never tasted it.  Like V-8, it costs more than twice as much as regular tomato juice, which seems like an unreasonable premium to pay for a shot of clam juice.  
 
r ranson
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Now that I'm back in Canada, I haven't had to mix my own for ages.  I don't remember the ratio but I found I had to adjust it to match my taste.

This site suggests 10oz clam juice to 46oz tomato https://www.food.com/recipe/clamato-juice-substitute-homemade-copycat-clone-11774#activity-feed

I never thought to ask what clam juice is.  According to wiki, it's the juice collected from steaming clams.  So something like a broth?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clam_juice

If you can get a small can/jar of Clamato, it's worth a try.  I find the flavour makes it well worth the extra price and it's wonderful for rehydrating in the summer (lots of salts and electrolytes)
 
Heidi Schmidt
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I'm a Canadian whose favourite cocktail is indeed the Caesar. What do I love about it? It's not sweet. It fills the hunger gap and makes a great appetizer at the same time as being a drink. It's incredibly satisfying. You can make it beautifully spicy.  And--importantly for you--it tastes just as good as a virgin drink as it does with the vodka.

My advice would be to start with a low ratio of the clam juice, or just buy the Clamato. Add the Caesar ingredients--do it up right :) See how you like it. Don't take a glug of straight clam juice or warm Clamato or something... see if you like it under its best circumstances first. It's maybe a bit like fish sauce--kinda gross in it's own way, but adds immeasurable complexity to certain Asian foods.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Lately, bartenders have been trying to outdo each other by adding a few extras to the classic Caesar.

 
r ranson
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Lately, bartenders have been trying to outdo each other by adding a few extras to the classic Caesar.



They left out the celery.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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r ranson wrote:They left out the celery.


Dang, you're right! Sacrilege!
 
pollinator
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Dan, I'd go for a V-8 + tomato juice blend for starters. The V-8 is a sodium bomb, so diluting it calms that down, plus cuts the cost. Add your favorite hot sauce(s)? And as others say, with water and ice, especially in the heat!
As far as juicing goes, you could maybe juice and freeze into cubes the stuff you want to add. That way you can batch it out and save time/cleaning doing the juicing, and then you would be "juicing-up" your drink rather than "watering-it-down" with ice.
I'd also consider what other bottled juices or carbonated stuff would go well (no juicing, just mixing) and mix them up! super easy.
Then there's beer as a mixer. Michelada recipe
 
Catie George
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What does it say that reading this thread about virgin cocktails makes me REALLY want a (non-virgin) Ceasar. I think I'll pick up Clamato next time I shop.

I have not drank anything alcoholic in weeks but this thread is sure tempting.
 
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