What Is Clamato, Really?

published Aug 15, 2016
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(Image credit: Clamato Bottle: mikeledray)

You may have seen this deep-red beverage on the supermarket shelf or a cocktail ingredient list, or maybe you’ve even sipped it before, but do you really know what Clamato juice is?

This Drink Is Just What It Sounds Like

This briny drink is just what it sounds like: a blend of tomato juice and clam broth, with some spices blended in. While you can certainly drink it as is, clamato juice is most commonly used in cocktails, like a bloody Caesar or Michelada.

Although it wasn’t produced commercially until the late ’60s, the idea for this interesting combination surfaced years earlier. One tale of its origin rumors that two employees of what is now Mott’s sought to create a cocktail inspired by the tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder. They mixed up a concoction of tomato juice, clam broth, and various spices, or what is now a familiar version of Clamato juice.

While Clamato hasn’t really taken hold in the U.S., it has quite the following elsewhere. You’ll often see it combined with beer in Mexico, and it’s hugely popular in Canada, where this mixer is used as the main ingredient in the bloody Caesar cocktail, a briny version of the bloody Mary.

Have you ever tried Clamato? What’s your favorite way to drink it?