Nov 8, 2022 - Food and Drink

Scoop: Valentine's Meat Juice is back, now as a bloody mary mix

The Valentine's Meat Juice Bloody Mary Mix will be available this month. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

The Valentine is bringing back its 19th century medicinal tonic — the one made from the pressed juice of slow-cooked beef — in bloody mary form.

Why it matters: You, a Richmonder living in the year 2022, can finally get a taste of Valentine's Meat Juice.

What's happening: Valentine, the museum focused on Richmond's history, partnered with Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix, the Richmond-based bloody mary-maker, to create its own mix named for the tonic created by the museum founder and namesake 150 years ago.

Valentine's Meat Juice Bloody Mary Mix will be available for sale beginning Nov. 17 at a launch party (registration required) and exclusively, at first, in the museum gift shop (1015 E. Clay St.).

  • Each bottle contains four servings and will be sold for $6.50.
  • 100% of the proceeds go to the museum.
A Meat-Juice ad. Image: Meat Juice Papers, The Valentine

Catch up quick: In 1870, the museum's founder, Mann S. Valentine II, created meat juice as a treatment for his ill wife, who couldn't hold down solid food and was fading fast.

  • Reasoning that beef broth made from boiling beef lost too many nutrients in cooking, Valentine tried cooking it slow and low, mixed it with egg whites, and voila, she was cured (for a bit. She died in 1873).

But meat juice was a hit and earned worldwide acclaim for decades as a cure for nearly everything — President Garfield took two teaspoons a day after he was shot in 1881 — and made Valentine the fortune that would later help establish the museum in downtown Richmond.

The Meat Juice bottling department. Photo: Meat Juice Papers, The Valentine

"The family's been talking about it for a long time, just for fun trying to reintroduce the product," Bill Martin, museum director, tells Axios. "Then we stumbled on the idea [for bloody mary mix]."

  • The family helped pick the final flavor profile with just a little spice, Martin said.

"We wanted it to be a little meaty," Rob Wooten, co-owner of Texas Beach, tells Axios. He said they were thrilled to work with the museum on the project.

  • There's no slow-cooked, pressed beef juice in this version, but there is beef broth.
Meat Juice production. Photo: Meat Juice Papers, The Valentine

What's next: The first batch of Valentine's Meat Juice Bloody Mary Mix was small, but they're already working on a second batch, which will be available before the holidays, including through Richmond-made Cirrus Vodka, where Tom Ellington, sales director and Valentine descendant, said they're planning holiday gift sets.

  • "Who wouldn't want a meat-juice Christmas?" Martin joked.
  • The museum will work with Texas Beach for bigger production and distribution and with Cirrus to get into local restaurants.

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