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.
The first printed record of a “smash” cocktail is found in the 1862 publication, How to Make Mixed Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion, by Jerry Thomas. This is a garden-fresh variation of a smash, replacing whiskey with small batch bourbon and showcasing the unique flavor pairing of plum and sage.
I seriously have this thing for rhubarb. Like, I wish I could eat the leaves, although the logical side of my brain, my internal Spock, tells me it would probably kill me. The stuff is that good. Same rules apply to tequila. It’s my catnip, my nectar of the gods, my kryptonite. So spring rolls around and I’m in the mood to shake off the long winter doldrums, craving something that smacks of warmer weather to come. Desperate for it, actually.
They always say to write what you know, so here I go… I accidentally drank too much tequila last night. As I sit here with the day half wasted and feeling like I’ve got a mariachi band doing somersaults in my head, I decided to turn my lemons into lemonade and turn my night of self-inflicted debauchery into a classy and educational tequila-tasting tale.
Back in 2002, my little granddaughter was very fond of apple juice. She liked it so much, it was what she wanted to drink all the time! After a bit of trial and tribulation, this recipe was born. Ten years later, the sound of the slamming door is often followed by “Where’s the tea juice, Grandma?” Even before “sugar” (Kisses. I’m from the South, what can I say? ) are passed around.
During the entire process of “Serious Cocktail Inventing”, I kept getting visions of nasty old men with gold chains entangled in their salt and pepper chest hair, hanging out naked in silk smoking jackets, puffing on cigars and talking about innately boring sh*t. What? I have an overactive imagination. Shut up. That’s how the Hugh Hefner was born. Make it, then send me a thank you note.