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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.


February 4, 2008


A physician once ordered my 90-year old grandmother to drink Beefamato.

Beefamato is tomato juice with beef broth in it. Well, not “real” beef broth, the label states “dried beef broth.”

I am not sure why she was ordered to drink Beefamato. Maybe it contained an obscure vitamin she wasn’t receiving in her regular diet, or an additional protein needed to preserve her 90-year old muscles. One thing’s for certain— the doctor didn’t make her drink Beefamato because it would be another tasty beverage alternative to her already-flavorsome line-up of liquid-refreshment selections. Move over, Ensure, pass the Beefamato.

Beefamato is like North Dakota, you only go there if you have to. Tomato juice and beef do not belong side-by-side in a glass— on top of a mound of spaghetti, certainly, spread onto a pizza crust, maybe, but not in a glass with crushed ice and a cocktail napkin.

Mott’s manufactures Beefamato. They also make a product called Clamato. Yes. Clamato— tomato juice and dried clam broth. I would give half a week’s pay to have been a fly on the wall in that boardroom:

Suit #1: “You know guys, this Beefamato stuff isn’t selling too well.”

Suit #2: “Well, boss, its beef juice and tomato juice combined in a liquid. I tried to warn you.”

Suit #3: “I know what we can do. Let’s find an even-worse ingredient to add to tomato juice. The buying public will be so repulsed by the new beverage, that Beefamato will seem like sweet, cool, nectar in comparison.”

Suit #1: “Number three, that’s brilliant. I’m putting you in for a raise. Now, what foul, vile liquid can we add to our tomato juice? ”

Suit #2: “How about the gooey liquid that comes inside the potted meat can.”

Suit #1: “Not vile enough.”

Suit #3: “I’ve got it! How about clams! No. Wait. How about dried clam broth!”

Suit #1: “Perfect! Son, you’ll be running this company one day.”

According to my research, Clamato is a big deal in the Northeastern states. Coincidentally, that’s also where cranberries are grown.

Ocean Spray blends cranberries into several successful combinations. They bottle Cran-Grape juice, Cran-Apple juice, and even Cran-Tangerine, and Cran-Mango. Maybe the folks at Mott’s were jealous of the creative innovation occurring in the Ocean Spray test labs.

Suit #1: “I’m sick of those guys over at Ocean Spray. They get to have all of the fun. They’re going wild with cranberries over there. I want some new beverage combinations, and I want them asap!”

Suit #3: “I’ve got it, sir. How about Cran-Beef, and Cran-Clam?”

Suit #1: “Number three, you’re a genius!”

We’re not talking about adding cherry juice or vanilla syrup to Coca Cola, those combinations make sense. It’s clam juice.

It’s as if Mott’s— makers of a fine applesauce, by the way— thought of the most disparate flavor combinations available. What’s next? grape juice and dill pickle liquid: Grapickle, clam juice and orange juice: Clamorange, turkey gravy and clam juice: Clamurkey?

I found a news article on the internet that suggested that the new Clamato energy drink could also be used as an aphrodisiac. A sign of marketing desperation? Maybe.

Suit #2: “Boss, the Cran-Clam isn’t selling, either.”

Suit #1: “#$%@*&! I just knew that was our ticket into the beverage-blend big time!”

Suit #3: “What if we tell them that Cran-Clam is the next Viagra?”

Suit #1: “Brilliant, number three! Number two, why don’t you ever come up with ideas like that?”

I don’t drink tomato juice, but if I did, I would want my tomato juice to taste like tomatoes. Not pot roast, or mollusks, or cherries, just tomatoes.

Question: What is the one thought everyone has after taking a sip of Clamato?

Answer: Wow, I could’ve had a V8!

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