A shot glass of clam juice

Clam juice is a broth derived from steamed clams,[1] which can be consumed on its own or used as an ingredient in various dishes and beverages.


Clam juice is typically prepared from the liquid obtained from steamed clams.[1] Clam juice may be prepared fresh for consumption,[2] or purchased in prepared bottled form.[1][3] Some companies mass-produce prepared clam juice, which is made by steaming fresh clams in water with salt, collecting the extracted liquid known as clam extract or clam liquor, and then filtering it.[1][4]

In 1937, William G. Frazier invented a clam opener devised to easily open clams and retain all of the clam juice, which was collected in a bowl.[5] A patent for the clam opener was issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on November 15, 1938.[5]

Use in dishes

Bottled clam juice being used in the preparation of clam chowder

Clam juice is sometimes used in the preparation of clam chowder and other chowders.[3] It may be used as an ingredient in various sauces and meat sauces, seafood dishes, in soup bases, and as a condiment to top foods, similar to the manner that fish sauce may be used.[1][6][7]

Italian chefs sometimes use clam juice as an ingredient in seafood dishes and pasta sauces.[1] It is sometimes used during the deglazing process in cooking.[1] It may provide a mineral-like flavor to dishes, and serve as a substrate to assist in combining flavors present in a dish.[1]

As a beverage

Some restaurants and bars in the US serve shots of pure clam juice.[8] For example, the Old Clam House in San Francisco, California serves a shot glass of hot clam juice at the beginning of each meal.[8] In the early 1900s in the United States, clam juice was purported to be a hangover remedy.[1]

Exterior of the Everleigh Club, circa 1911

The Everleigh Club, a former brothel in Chicago, Illinois, that was in operation from 1900 to October 1911, would serve iced clam juice and a tablet of aspirin as a starter for breakfast, which began at 2:00 in the afternoon.[9][10]

Beverages with clam juice

Soda fountains

In the United States in the early 1900s, clam juice was used as an ingredient for various beverages at soda fountains.[11] Beverages prepared with clam juice included hot clam juice, hot clam soda, hot ginger clam broth, hot celery punch, hot clam cream, clam night cap, tomato clam broth and others.[11][12][13][14]

During this time, a recipe for hot clam juice used one-half to one-ounce of clam juice in an eight-ounce glass, the remainder of which was filled with hot water.[11] Accompaniments included soda crackers, celery salt, salt and pepper.[11] The beverage was sometimes prepared with the addition of milk or hot milk.[11] The addition of a small portion of butter would enhance the flavor of hot clam juice.[11]


In contemporary times, clam juice is sometimes used as an ingredient or drink mixer in cocktails, such as the Caesar,[2][15][16] also known as a Bloody Caesar.[17]


Main article: Clamato

A Caesar cocktail prepared with Clamato juice

Clamato is a mass-produced beverage prepared with tomato juice concentrate, clam juice and spices.[18][19] It also contains high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, salt and ascorbic acid.[19] Clamato is used as an ingredient in the Caesar cocktail.[20] The michelada, a beer cocktail, is sometimes prepared using Clamato as an ingredient.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Werner, Tommy (March 20, 2015). "What's your pantry (and cocktail) missing? Clam Juice". Epicurious. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  2. ^ a b O'Hara, C.B.; Nash, W.A. (1999). The Bloody Mary: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Most Complex Cocktail. Lyons Press Series. Lyons Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-55821-786-7. Retrieved January 19, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b Broyles, Addie (December 28, 2015). "Ring in New Year with fresh chowder". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Clam Juice". Cook's Illustrated. November 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Patent US 2136816 A". United States Patent and Trademark Office. November 15, 1938. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  6. ^ Chiarella, Tom (March 2, 2013). "The Endorsement: Clam Juice". Esquire. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  7. ^ Burros, Marian (March 20, 1996). "Seafood, Pasta And Spice". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Lybarger, Jeremy (December 17, 2015). "The Old Clam House: Time-Worn Gem Turned Into Just Another Tourist Trap". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Tait, Elaine (February 16, 1997). "Bordello Cooking: Mmm, Mmm Good!". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Washburn, Charles (1934). "Come Into My Parlor" (PDF). National Library Press. p. 156. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f The Dispenser Soda Water Guide. D.O. Haynes & Company. 1909. p. 122.
  12. ^ Fountain, Soda (1915). The Dispenser's Formulary, Or, Soda Water Guide. D.O. Haynes. p. 92.
  13. ^ Fox, Irving P. (1911). "The Spatula". Volume 18. Spatula Publishing Company. p. 157. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  14. ^ Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews. Lillard & Company. 1920. p. 60.
  15. ^ McCart, Melissa (December 31, 2015). "On the Table: Kick off the year with a bloody mary". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Best Caesar". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 10, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  17. ^ "Calgary's Bloody Caesar hailed as nation's favourite cocktail". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 13, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  18. ^ Drane, Amanda (January 8, 2016). "Madame Barfly: The Library in Easthampton is about the booze, not the books". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  19. ^ a b O'Brien, Erin (February 20, 2008). "Drinking Responsibly". Cleveland Free Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  20. ^ Paul Harrington & Laura Moorhead (1998). Cocktail: the drinks bible for the 21st century. Designed and illustrated by Douglas Bowman. New York: Viking. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-0-670-88022-5.
  21. ^ Gold, Jonathan (October 31, 2015). "At Colonia Publica, come home to a warm bowl of fideo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 19, 2016.

Further reading