© Denzil Green
Clam Juice is actually broth from clams, sold in small bottles.
To make Clam Juice, clams are shucked, then briefly steamed. The steaming water becomes a broth. It is strained to get any grit or sediment out, then bottled. Most brands add no artificial preservatives, just salt. The clam meat is then packaged and sold separately.
The “Juice” has a salty, sea flavour to it. It is using as a flavouring agent, rather than as a juice that you would drink as a beverage.
Clam Juice is an acceptable substitute to keep on hand for a fish stock. Its flavour can enhance a clam chowder, a bisque, etc.
Some cocktails, such as a “Low Tide Martini,” and a “Caesar” call for Clam Juice.
The tomato juice drink, Clamato, made by the Mott’s company, has Clam Juice in it.
Some brands can have double the salt content of others. Reduce salt content in recipe accordingly, or check labels on Clam Juice bottles for another choice. In fact, when using any brand, it is probably best to salt your dish at the end — if it fact it still needs any salt after using Clam Juice.
A fish stock; or 1/2 chicken broth, 1/2 water.
You can also use juice from tinned clams packed in brine.
Literature & Lore
“No doubt clam juice is a comforting and soothing fluid, which can be assimilated by a system that will accept little else, and it may be of great service in dealing with a refractory digestion. It is a delusion to imagine that it will promptly repair the ravages of rum, but there are cases in which it can be administered with marked benefit. For example, there is the editorial page of the Sun, which is simply a symptom of acute gastric irritation. It is conceivable that the administration of clam juice in proper quantities might so restore its tone that it would become both cheerful and sensible. Imagination staggers, however, when it contemplates the ocean of clam juice that would be needed to effect this result.” — Author not identified. “Boiled Clam Juice.” New York Times. 16 November 1886. Page 4.