Trending: Beet Cocktails. Yum or Nah?

Trending: Beet Cocktails. Yum or Nah?

The beet has become a salad-menu staple, it’s a dominant player in the produce aisle and a cornerstone of the juicing craze. Pretty good rebound for a fringe, love-it-or-hate-it veg whose taste often divided the family table. Next stop on the beet’s big comeback tour: Your favorite watering hole.

It’s no surprise the beet has become the ingredient du jour among mixologists, says Vincent Lee, barman at Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville, California. The ruby color is striking, it’s sweet but also packs an earthy flavor that mixes well, and it has farm-to-table cachet.

Plus, beet-based drinks are easy to market, thanks to the pun-ready name. Lee’s own creation is called, ahem, The Beetnik. At New York City’s Marble Lane Steak Joint & Bar, the Dr. Ward’s Cleanse combines freshly squeezed beet juice, muddled ginger and celery with Stoli Gala Applik Vodka. “It’s a take on the popular BluePrintCleanse as well as the demand for freshly juiced drinks, which incorporate vegetables and fruit into one power-packed, vitamin-rich drink,” says William Ward, beverage director.

For other mixologists, beets present an opportunity to create back-of-the-house, chef-inspired sips.

“Bars are taking a culinary approach to creating cocktails, and beets are a natural sweetener,” says Andrew Emery, co-proprietor of Victory in New Orleans, which offers an inventive beet-reduction-and-dark-rum-based cocktail dubbed ­Beetin’ the Lime. “It’s a classic cocktail in that it contrasts the sweetness of the beet with the citric tart flavor of the lime,” he says.

The kitchen also inspired the We Got The Beet drink at Clover Club in Brooklyn, says Julie Reiner, founder and beverage director.

“I started talking to our chef, Gil Calderon, about doing a chef-inspired cocktail section on the fall and winter menu,” Reiner says. “I wanted to create a beet cocktail for a while, and I thought that Tequila and mezcal would be perfect for the drink, as they both have a lot of vegetal qualities.”


• The Basics: We eat (and drink) beetroots, also known as garden beets. They’re different from sugar beets, an industrial commodity used for sugar production.
• The Boom: While the USDA doesn’t track how many beetroots are sold, analysts and farmers say sales have nearly doubled in the last five years.
• The Boost: Teeming with vitamins and antioxidants, studies show eating beets may  actually lower blood pressure and bad LDL cholesterol.

Beet Cocktail Recipes to Mix Up at Home

Dr. Ward’s Cleanse

Recipe courtesy William Ward, beverage director of Marble Lane at Dream Downtown, New York City

1 celery rib, cut into 2–3 pieces, approximately ¼-inch thick (reserve the top of the celery rib)
2 slices freshly peeled ginger
2 ounces Stolichnaya Gala Applik Vodka
Âľ ounce beet juice
ÂĽ ounce agave nectar
ÂĽ ounce lemon juice
Tonic water, to top

In a Boston shaker, muddle the celery pieces along with the ginger. Add ice, vodka, beet juice, agave nectar and lemon juice, and shake vigorously. Pour the mixture into a tall Collins glass. Add additional ice if necessary to fill the glass. Top with a splash of tonic water, and garnish with the top of the celery rib. Serve with a large straw.

We Got The Beet

Recipe courtesy Julie Reiner, co-owner/beverage director, and Gil Calderon, chef, of Clover Club, Brooklyn, New York

1½ ounces blanco Tequila
½ ounce Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
Âľ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
½ ounce beet shrub (recipe below)
½ ounce beet syrup (recipe below)
2 yellow beet slices, for garnish

Add the Tequila, mezcal, lime juice, shrub and syrup in a mixing tin filled with ice and shake well. Strain the mixture into a Collins glass over fresh ice and garnish with yellow beet slices.

Beet shrub
2 ounces fresh beet juice
4 ounces granulated sugar
2½ ounces Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat, and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, and then fine strain it into a glass jar. Covered and stored in a refrigerator, shrub will keep for 1 week.

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat, and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, and then fine strain it into a glass jar. Covered and stored in a refrigerator, shrub will keep for 1 week.

Beet syrup
2 large beets, cleaned, peeled and cubed
1 large chunk of ginger, cleaned and cut into small pieces
½ cup water
1 cup fine sugar
15 mint leaves

Combine the beets, ginger, water, sugar and mint leaves in a pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool completely. Strain the syrup into a glass container, and store it for up to one week in the refrigerator.

The Beetnik

Recipe courtesy Vincent Lee, barman of Lucy Restaurant & Bar, Yountville, California

10 cucumber slices, divided
3 basil leaves
2 ounces Hendricks Gin
½ ounce fresh beet purée
Âľ ounce lemon juice
Âľ ounce ginger syrup
½ ounce The King’s Ginger Liqueur
½ ounce St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Fever-Tree Soda Water, to top

Muddle 6 cucumber slices and the basil leaves in a mixing glass. Add the gin, beet purée, lemon juice, ginger syrup, ginger liqueur and St-Germain, and shake well. Strain the mixture into an ice-filled lowball glass, and top with soda water. Garnish with the remaining cucumber slices.

Published on February 27, 2013
Topics: Cocktail Trends