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August 23, 2020

Have you ever fallen for a red herring?

The origins of this fishy expression are as slippery as the kipper itself but for hundreds of years ‘red herrings’ have appeared in English vocabulary, from 17th century practical jokes to Agatha Christie whodunnits.

Named after the traditional style of smoked and cured kipper, red herrings are synonymous with deliberately diversionary or misleading clues or information.
118118680_998279277301025_5985942615203785792_n.jpg One early origin is an anecdote from a journalist in 1805 saying that as a boy he tricked a pack of hunt’s hounds by rubbing a red herring across the trail they were following, causing them to lose the scent.

And there is documented evidence from the same period of crooks actually using kippers to try and evade bloodhounds during hot pursuits.

Earlier still comes a story of an infamous prank played out from beyond the grave in the 1600s. Dr Jasper Maine loved playing practical jokes on his servant and during his loyal years of service he promised him that when he died he would bequeath him the contents of a mysterious trunk in the house ‘that would make him Drink after his Death’.

When his master passed away, the servant excitedly opened the trunk to see what wonders the good doctor had left him only to find it empty – save for a single red herring.

Red herrings were a favourite narrative tool in Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries and are just as popular with authors and scriptwriters today.

And this weekend our Sunday Brunch features its own unexpected twist. We’ve paired meaty, smoked kippers with a red herring of a Bloody Mary which is made using carrot juice – not tomato – laced with red paprika, fennel and caraway seeds. The result is a bright red and surprisingly light libation which pairs perfectly with the delicious oily fish.


50 ml Broken Clock
75 ml Carrot Juice Infused with Fennel and Caraway Seeds
25 ml Tomato juice
15 ml Lemon Juice
5 ml Soy Sauce
5 ml Ginger Juice
Pinch Black Pepper
Tsp Paprika
Tsp Capers Brine
Chives Garnish


Infuse the carrot juice overnight by adding a tsp of each of the seeds per 150 ml of juice.

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and serve in a well iced tumbler.