Today is Halloween — time to hit the Locabar and concoct a ghoulish cocktail. A friend once told me about a movie idea of hers. A woman would be shown washing what looked like blood from her hands while clutching a very sharp knife. As the camera zoomed in, you would find out that she was actually peeling beets. That was it! Blood- red beet juice would be the perfect ingredient to build a Halloween cocktail around.
Paging through Hip Sips, a cocktail recipe book by Lucy Brennan, I came across a recipe for beet-infused vodka. Vodka & beets — so positively Transylvania, it practically screams Halloween.
Peel and trim 3 medium beets. Cut into quarters. Place in a wide-mouthed glass container. Pour a bottle of vodka over the beets. I used potato vodka but if you want to keep it local, Dry Fly makes a wonderful wheat vodka right here in Washington. Fair warning — the earthy-beety flavor becomes fairly strong making it hard to distinguish the subtleties in the vodka so an expensive brand may not be worth it. Seal or cover the container and store in a cool dark place for 2-3 days. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beets, then pour the beautiful beet-infused liquid back into the bottle. Cap and store in the fridge or freezer.
It took several sessions for us to come up with the right balance of flavors for this cocktail. The early attempts included the “Ruby”, invented by Brennan. It was a little too earthy for some members of the Cocktail Study Club. So we were forced to keep trying — but don’t feel sorry for me, I enjoyed it all and still believe a very chilled shot of this straight up is hard to beat.
We came back from Orcas a few weeks ago with several gallons of homemade apple cider. Charlie had the brilliant idea of mixing the two with a little creme de cassis and some fresh lime — so seasonal, so local, so invigorating — guaranteed to bring back the dead, even if it is just for one night.
The Beet Goes On
2 ounces beet-infused vodka
1 ounce apple juice or cider (not flavored)
1/2 ounce creme de cassis
juice of 1/4 lime
Put all ingredients into a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously, strain and serve with a lime twist. It is also very good served on the rocks. Double the recipe for two but beware of vampire kisses……