Kitchen Bouquet is a cooking condiment known as a browning agent used to add flavor and a dark color to foods. It is commonly added to gravy to add a dark, rich color.
Kitchen Bouquet’s main ingredients include vegetable stock, salt and caramel coloring, among others. The caramel coloring is what gives it the signature dark color, making it ideal for modifying the appearance of foods. Its frequent use in stews and gravies is to impart a well-cooked appearance, as light or clear liquids are not as appetizing. It is also used on various types of meats to make the exterior look as if it were cooked on an open flame. Roasts made in an oven or pieces of meat heated in a microwave often appear pale because they are not exposed to flames.
While some use Kitchen Bouquet and other browning agents to add flavor, many contest that the liquid does not add any flavor at all. To avoid any negative reactions from eaters, only use a small amount of the liquid in foods. Kitchen Bouquet is also used in certain alcoholic drink recipes to replace bitters. This gives the drink a hearty, smoky taste that pairs well with meat dishes.