Clamato is a brand of tomato cocktail concentrate that is used as a zesty mixer in drinks and for adding flavor to food such as stews, soups, and marinades. It was invented in California back in 1969 and was a popular drink for thirsty farmers before spreading in popularity throughout the rest of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Clamato is made from a range of ingredients including reconstituted tomato juice, chili, sugar, MSG, spices, and dried clam broth.
If you've got no Clamato in the kitchen for your next cocktail or you're looking for something a little different then you're going to need a substitute. We've pulled together two useful Clamato substitutes which may taste a little different but certainly won't be out of place in your next beverage or meal.
How do I replace Clamato?
To replace Clamato in your next cocktail use V8 Bloody Mary; alternatively, make your own version with tomato juice, clam juice, celery salt, chili flakes, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. To make a vegan Clamato at home, use a vegan Worcestershire sauce and replace the clam juice with a plant-based sprinkling of dulse, kombu, or arame.
1. V8 Bloody Mary
V8 has developed a strong reputation for producing good-quality vegetable juices that are sold in mainstream supermarkets. The easiest way to replace Clamato juice is to buy V8 Bloody Mary. As the name suggests, it was developed as a mixer for Bloody Mary cocktails – a tomato juice concentrate with extra ingredients like vinegar, pepper, celery extract, and vinegar. Many people buy Clamato as a base for Bloody Marys and similar cocktails so this replacement makes sense.
V8 Bloody Mary doesn't contain clam broth, so you won't get that mild “taste of the ocean” undertone that you get from Clamato. For some, this won't be a problem but if you want that authentic taste, then consider adding a 10 ounce can of clam juice into the mix.
For those looking for a plant-based, vegan alternative to Clamato juice then V8 Bloody Mary is our recommendation. But if you're trying to reduce your salt intake then using V8 Bloody Mary may not be the best option. While Clamato contains 500mg of sodium per 5fl oz serving, V8 Bloody Mary contains 650mg. However, a serving of Clamato contains 4% of your daily Vitamin C requirements, while V8 contains 70%.
2. Copy Cat Recipe
If you want to recreate the original taste of Clamato then making your own concoction at home is your best bet. It takes a little more effort than buying a ready-made product but the result will be closer to the original drink. Follow the recipe below for your own cloned version.
- 2 11.5-fl. oz. cans of tomato juice
- 2 8-fl. oz. bottles of clam juice
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 splash of Tabasco sauce
- Add all ingredients to a large bottle and shake to combine.
- Taste test and, if required, add extra seasoning or Tabasco sauce.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Need a vegan recipe? For a plant-based Clamato recipe, you can simply leave out the clam juice and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce like the product made by Annie’s. To get that briny, seafood flavor, check out our handy list of clam juice substitutes, some of which are vegan-friendly.
Fast facts about Clamato
- Clamato is a fat-free beverage that is low in calories. However, it does have high levels of sodium and it also has sugar and Monosodium glutamate (MSG) added.
- The juice will last for 12 months from the production date but after opening it should be used within two to three weeks.
- Clamato can be used to make cocktails like the Bloody Caesar and the Michelado.
If you need to replace Clamato juice in your next cocktail or food recipe then your easiest option is to use V8 Bloody Mary. This product is commonly available in supermarkets but if you can't find it then do a quick search online. This product also provides high levels of vitamin C and is suitable for those on a plant-based diet. For a more authentic tasting Clamato juice substitute, you can make your own by following the recipe above.
What is your favorite use for Clamato? Do you prefer to use it in drinks or food recipes? Please let us know in the comments below.