Shelf Life: You say tomato, I say Beefamato

By Wynter Holden

I've never quite understood why some food products have longevity while other seemingly better ones don't. Jello Pudding Pops and Slice soda bite the dust, while parents are still tormenting their kids with the chalk-like "wholesome goodness" of Ovaltine. In what universe is that fair? And then there's Clamato, in a category of its own. What culinary crackpot decided that combining clam juice with tomatoes and gulping it down cold was a palatable idea? Yes, Bloody Marys combine Worcestershire and tomato -- also a gross pairing when consumed straight -- but the addition of vodka at least makes you temporarily forget what ingredients you're imbibing.

I guess that's why Mott's decided to put out Beefamato in the '60s. Not everyone loves seafood, much less seafood "juice." So why not have a heaping helping of fatty beef broth in your morning beverage instead? The popularity of the meat-and-fruit drink has waned over the decades, so it's not surprising that I hadn't spotted the cocktail on supermarket shelves in years -- until a recent trip to my neighborhood AJ's Fine Foods.

I ease my disgust by convincing myself that people just use Beefamato in recipes, or maybe in a modified high-protein Bloody Mary. But I know some die-hard 'Amato drinkers are chugging it like watery frat house beer. In fact, one obsessed fan even created an online site just for the stuff at Like the Web site says, "It's perfect for cats." (Because nothing else is stupid enough to drink it.)

Do you have a creative Beefamato or Clamato recipe you'd like to share? Post a comment below, 'cause really, we're all dying to know who's still buying this, beverage.