It’s hot dog water. You know, the water left over from boiling hot dogs? Hot dog water.

Surprisingly, googling “fancy hot dog water” and “how to fancily boil hot dogs” didn’t yield many useful results. In fact, pretty much every search result for just “fancy hot dog” is about how to dress up the dog post-cooking (cooking methods, which, by the way, rarely included boiling). Eventually, I had an epiphany: the fancy version of a boiled hot dog is a braised sausage. But, from there I hit another roadblock: most braised sausage recipes call for beer, and it felt antithetical to the spirit of Dry January to make a mocktail with beer it in, even if the actual alcohol gets boiled off. But I didn’t let that stop me, because I know of a certain yeasty food additive that could impart some of the flavors beer would have brought to the hot dog water.

Vegemite. Yes, because this mocktail wasn’t already cursed enough, I decided to add Vegemite.

The end result? Well, it’s kinda like how some people think bone broth counts as a beverage. This is just hot dog broth. The Vegemite, a product I’ve never actually had before, turned out to not have the intended flavor profile of “yeast,” but it did help enhance the meatiness of the drink. My original intention of “dog broth and thyme syrup” ended up being a bit too intense, so I also ended up adding some apple cider vinegar and- when even straight vinegar wasn’t enough to brighten it up- some seltzer. Ultimately, it’s only real flaw is that it’s really salty. But if we didn’t want that, we wouldn’t have made Hot Dog Water, would we? (But really, if you were to actually make this, chase it with a water.)

Like all of the other drinks I’ve made this month, it isn’t bad, but I do think this is probably one that I would be least likely to serve to my friends. On the other hand, there’s something magical about being able to take a sip of a drink and a bite of a hot dog at the same time.

The Recipe

1 package (6) hot dogs
~2 cups water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp Vegemite
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 sprigs thyme

½ cup water
½ cup sugar
5-6 sprigs thyme

Heavily perforate the hot dogs with a fork to prevent bursting while cooking (although this is not vital, we care more about the water than the dogs themselves here.). Sear on both sides in a pan just wide enough to hold them, then add just enough water to mostly cover. Add vinegar, Vegemite, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. At the same time, bring the water, sugar, and thyme to a boil in a small sauce pan, reduce until syrupy, then let steep for 15 minutes. Once both liquids are done, remove the hot dogs (and eat them however you’d like) and strain the dog water and syrup through a fine mesh sieve into separate containers, chill.

4 oz Hot Dog Water™
1 oz thyme syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
~1 oz seltzer (plain or any citrus flavor)

Combine HDW, syrup and vinegar in a cocktail shaker, shake to combine. Pour over ice, top off the glass with seltzer. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. And a hot dog.

I hope you’ve had as much fun this past month watching me make these horrifyingly delicious drinks as I’ve had making them. Remember, you too can be a mocktail expert, as long as you know how to boil sugar, water, and herbs together, willing to drop $20 on a cocktail shaker and a spherical ice mold (that barely even works) and aren’t afraid to abandon things like “logic” and “reason.”

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