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Elements: Beets

beet shrub
From shrubs (like this DIY recipe) to syrups to juice, beets are increasingly showing up in a range of drinks. The earthy root vegetable lends a savory edge to cocktails, and a stunningly vibrant color.

In Los Angeles, several bars mix beets with agave spirits, including Estrella‘s Beet It cocktail,which marries the earthiness of beets with the sweetness of tequila. Nearby at Eveleigh, serrano-infused mezcal meets beet juice, lime and agave, and at Estate Restaurant + Bar, bartender Greg Bryson mixes beet juice with mezcal, honey, lime juice and a tumeric rim.

Meanwhile, at SouBou in New Orleans, the Turn the Beet Around turns to cachaca with its Daiquiri riff combining beet-infused cachaca and lime juice, and Kristi Dukoff of Gracie’s in Providence, Rhode Island, mixes beets with gin, sage liqueur, rosemary and yellow Chartreuse.

And bartenders aren’t just opting for clear spirits to mix with beets. Bourbon lends a sweet, oaky base in the Ox Blood cocktail from Ox in Portland, Oregon, while at Juniper Kitchen and Bar in Vancouver, BC, Shaun Layton mixes a simple beet syrup with vodka, honey and lemon juice for the Beets Knees, below.

Beets Knees
1½ oz. vodka
½ oz. honey liqueur
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. beet syrup
2 dashes celery bitters
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: sliced beet fan

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill, then double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

Beet Syrup: Peel 6 medium-sized beets and place them in 3¼ cups of boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them. Lower the heat to medium, remove the beets from the water and slice them into even slices. Put the sliced beets back in the water and add 3¼ cups of granulated sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bottle and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Shaun Layton, Juniper Kitchen & Bar, Vancouver

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