Brox: The Berliners Who Are Reinventing the Bull Shot
Bone broth has been “a thing” in the States for a while now. You might remember sipping the hot liquid when inflicted with the flu as a child. However, it’s safe to say that Germans have not yet had the pleasure of ordering their comfortingly warm broth in a to go coffee cup. Until now.
Earlier this year, in November to be precise, Konrad Kasper Knops and Jin-Woo Bae, Brox’s two founders, took over an ice-cream store smack in the middle of Berlin Mitte’s famous Weinbergsweg. At Brox you can get different add-ins to your bone broth. Those include butter, ghee, coconut oil, shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric. Get your broth either in a coffee cup to sip on immediately, or in a glass container to take home and re-warm, use to cook, or even to pour into your cocktail class (Bull Shot anyone?). Bone broth is powerful stuff. Simmered for 18 hours (using only the bones of certified organic, grass-fed beef) the broth is said to contain a whole list of active ingredients that are important to both maintaining your health as well as combating sickness. The collagen found in bone marrows (and subsequently transferred to the powerful broth) helps the healing process, the stock is chock full of calcium which is good for healthy teeth and nails and other nutrients include glycine (which acts anti-inflammatory) and phosphor, which counteracts fatigue and dullness. I could go on, but I’ll stop here.
Konrad and Jin met when Konrad, an osteopath und physical therapist who runs the Urban Health praxis, came to see Jin, a graphic designer who also specializes as a lifestyle and fitness coach. They immediately took to each other and decided that a collaboration was imminent. The two started off with ximple, a lifestyle and nutrition coaching platform and soon moved on to what would become their broth venture: Brox.
A Tradition as Old as Time
The idea of broth isn’t new, nose-to-tail supporters have long been making use of bones, leeching them (and most importantly: their marrow) of their nutrition is a cornerstone of most Asian cuisines, and the best base to a good soup is, naturally, a solid bone broth. The boys behind Brox are familiar with New York’s Brodo. Brodo is run by Hearth restaurant’s chef Marco Canora who, after decades of subsisting on a sub-par diet, realized he needed to make a change. Bone broth became a vital part of this new healthy living and he started selling his broth out of a take-out window, around the corner from Hearth.
Konrad and Jin first came up with their idea around January 2015 and broth became the cornerstone of their superfood philosophy. Jin, who is of Korean heritage, remembers having last night’s broth for breakfast. It’s a time honored tradition across many cultures. They launched, hand-in-hand with the online store going live, at the end of August this year and immediately managed to snag the Gastro-Gründer Preis 2016. Now they’ve set up a pop-up within ice-cream store that’s closed for the cold months and you’ll find them at Weinbergsweg 21 until March. Brox places great importance on appreciating food, appreciating the animal and showcasing that by making use of every single part of it. Jin tell me that he very strongly believes in the mantra “you are, what you eat” and that Germans need to re-think their approach to food. Not just Germans, it’s become custom to want the best for the least amount of money in Europe. And that’s just not the way it works. Jin and Konrad have experienced the curiosity people have for their product. And they’re producing it using the best raw materials available: not only are their bones certified organic, but they also hail from grass-fed animals.
Broth as the Magical Hangover Cure
In terms of the Bull Shot, I had to ask: does drinking a Bull Shot with the best possible beef broth cancel out the effects of alcohol? Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. However, Jin does offer a nice solution “Alcohol will never be healthy per se, but drinking a Bull Shot is a savory alternative to the sweetness, and the usual following insulin whip, of ‘normal’ cocktails. Also, broth is the best hangover cure”. So, there you go folks – broth might not cancel it out but you can take it as a precursory hangover helper. Next time you’re feeling the aftershock of last night’s bacchanalian debauchery, warm some broth, ignore the pills, and feed your soul. Yay for natural remedies!
Konrad and Jin are busy cooking up their next move: a wider availability across Germany as well a range of broth. Next up will be chicken (the definite Jewish penicillin) and then the vegetarian/vegans amongst you can get excited, because Brox is also currently working on a mushroom broth that will be made with medicinal mushrooms. It’s all about getting that gut healthy and happy, something that broth is very good at. Keep your eyes peeled and your tastebuds open, you might even be able to taste Brox’s broth in Bull Shots at events around Berlin soon.