I cannot even begin to describe my love for beets. There are no words. I love everything about them; the smell and the memories it evokes, the taste in all the recipes I have ever tried, the color and its lightning flash ability to ruin all of my clothes in a nanosecond, and its ability to make me think I need to go to the hospital if I’ve forgotten I’ve consumed it. So why on earth did it take me THIS LONG to realize beets might also possibly make some rather kickass cocktails? I do not have an answer for that question, but I have finally dug out the libation chemistry set and started to experiment.
I simply cannot smell or taste beets without thinking of my grandmother, her large gardens, or her always busy kitchen. I think she started feeding me beets before I was even verbal – my memories are that locked. They epitomize the very best elements of childhood summers and I almost always have them either growing in my own garden or stored in my kitchen.
I have to admit that when I started making this beet simple syrup and juiced whole beets with my juicer, it became downright impossible to not just drink the beet juice straight out of the machine. Have you ever had it? Amazing. You need to get up on that.
I made two versions of the simple syrup – one was just beets, and the other was with the addition of balsamic vinegar. I found the straight beet infusion paired well with gin, and the balsamic beet infusion was utterly mind-blowing when paired with a small batch bourbon. I made the syrup, whipped up some experimental cocktails, and used family members of legal drinking age as my guinea pigs. I do believe I managed to convert some rather staunch bourbon-haters over to the dark side, as they asked me to make a second round. Great success.
- 1 c fresh beet juice
- 1 c water
- 3 c granulated sugar
- 1 TB balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Combine beet juice, water & sugar in stockpot
- Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves
- Remove from heat, let cool
- Optional: Add one TB balsamic vinegar, stir
- Store in sealed container and refrigerate
- Balsamic beet syrup pairs well with small batch bourbons
- Basic beet infused syrup pairs well with gin