Bartender Challenge 

We pick the ingredient, you make the cocktail. This month: Valentine's Meat Juice.

click to enlarge food06_bartender_t_leggett.jpg

Scott Elmquist

Bartender: T. Leggett, bar program manager of the Roosevelt
Challenge: Valentine’s Meat Juice

The founder of the Valentine museum, Mann S. Valentine Jr., made his fortune selling a medicinal product he called Meat Juice — essentially, concentrated beef broth. In one high-profile case, the physician of President James Garfield prescribed it to help the 20th president recover from a bullet wound received during an assassination attempt. Production stopped in the 1950s.

Although its health claims were at best dubious, the idea of a Valentine’s Meat Juice cocktail conjures images of men in suits during the 1950s, throwing back a savory drink or two at Sardi’s in Manhattan. The Bullshot, basically beef broth and vodka, was a popular drink from that time until it fell out of favor in the 1980s.

Why not bring cocktails like that back? We asked T. Leggett, of the Roosevelt, to come up with a version that works as well at brunch as it does late at night, inspired by the product that spawned a collection of more than 1.6 million objects — Richmond-related and otherwise.

Valentine’s Meat Juice Cocktail

3/4 ounces Old Overholt rye whiskey
3/4 ounce Citadelle gin
1 ounce beef stock (Leggett uses Campbell’s)
1/4 ounce Amontillado
1/3 juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all of the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Do you have an ingredient idea for our Bartender Challenge? Email


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