Beef consomme and vodka recipe
Served hot from a flask or with ice, the meaty bullshot is long overdue a revival
This classic mix of beef consomme and vodka has managed to acquire an undeservedly tweedy reputation in Britain. It is often drunk hot, poured from a Thermos on crisp winter walks – the steam rising and mingling with the cloudy breath of walkers holding out their cups for a dose.
But served over cracked ice after dark it is a more dangerous beast. Bullshot was probably invented in the 50s in the US, by someone with a twisted mind. Meat and alcohol. In a glass. With pepper. Oh yeah, and chilli.
It’s Marlon Brando in The Wild One. It’s Shane McGowan on an experimental day. In the early 70s, Malcolm McDowell drank it while publicising A Clockwork Orange. He “bundled in against the cold in a leather jacket,” recorded one journalist, “[on his face] the beginning of a smile that never quite finished, he sat down and ordered a bullshot – bouillon and vodka.”
I first had it in a dive bar on a snowy evening in New York in the late 80s – the first time I was ever alone there. As the vodka flush hit my cheeks, I was momentarily James Dean. And then I caught a glimpse in the back-bar mirror of a chubby English schoolboy with a fake ID holding his cigarette like a square.
Bullshot is best mixed with homemade broth, but don’t let this stop you – it still tastes great with consomme from a can. There are many variations. If you have it heated, I think it needs a little dry sherry in the mix to give it more body. Some people add orange juice, as well as lemon, to the mix.
I like it strong, cold and straight, with a lot of Worcestershire sauce, a good squeeze of lemon and a little more vodka than given in the recipe that follows.
Make your own bullshot
90ml beef consomme
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
A squeeze of lemon
1 Mix all the ingredients together, adding Tabasco and black pepper to taste.
2 Shake with cracked ice and strain into a highball glass with extra ice. This drink is supposed to be more boozy than a Bloody Mary but if you would prefer a slightly weaker version, simply add an extra 50ml of the consomme.
We all know that a bar needs drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
So a well stocked bar would have an assortment of beers, some spirits, some wine, some sodas and some fruit juice and, of course some ice.
But is that all?
I am a hobbiest-barman at home, and a professional at work, although I haven’t worked in a bar for many years. The last time was when I opened a restaurant in Puno, Peru for a travel agency in 2000. So I am familiar with bars.
So, what else does a bar need?
Start with the standard, salt, pepper, white and brown sugar.
You’ll need garnishes, mint leaves, orange and lemon slices, pineapple leaves (if you are serving piña colada – always a favourite)
Bitters, Angostura Bitters are essential.
Extras can include, celery salt, cinnamon sticks, liquorice sticks (make a great contrast with orange coloured drinks – especially at Halloween), Maraschino cherries, olives (green and black), cocktail onions, and things like grapes can always be used.
Extras like Tabasco sauce, and cordials are often handy.
You can add pickled onions, gherkins, coconut, chocolate and glacé (candied) fruit there is a whole host of stuff that you can use.
Of course, it all depends on what drinks you are serving and how fancy do you want to get.
Then there are little bits and pieces like straws, swizzle sticks and umbrellas, if you want to go the whole nine yards.
If you want some more flower ideas…
Check: Pansy Recipes
You’ll be amazed at what you can do.