Turning Up the Beet & Basil Cocktail
Get ready to feel the health beat of this beet & basil cocktail! It may sound strange, but if you like beets, you've got to give this one a try. Lately, I've been on a mission learning about and creating "healthy" or "healthier" entertaining cocktails that are packed with hidden nutrition. With this drink, the main nutrition highlight comes from pure, organic beet juice.
I used to hate beets. I genuinely thought they tasted as close to dirt as a food possibly could. However, the ways that I had tasted them before included raw or pickled on a salad bar... Bleh! One night for dinner my friend brought over some beets to roast as a side dish. She didn't ask ahead of time, just brought them over, wrapped them in foil with a little olive oil, and baked them. Once they were cooked she sliced them up and added seasoning and some goat cheese crumbles. I thought, "what the heck, I love goat cheese so much I would probably eat a pinecone if it were covered in it, so I'll try the beets." To my pleasant surprise I LOVED them. They tasted more like a sweet, roasted carrot rather than dirt. Ever since then I have expanded my ways of consuming them and just can't get enough. I'll try the beet salad at the restaurant, the cold-pressed beet and ginger juice, the side dish, the main dish, you name it!
Mix my new beet obsession with my fascination for creating healthy entertaining recipes and you get a sweet, deep maroon drink like the Beet & Basil Cocktail. The rich sweetness of the beets mixed with the fresh lightness of muddled basil and citrus with raw honey make this drink fresh and bright. I feel that beets are most commonly paired with ginger, which is definitely a winning combo. However, I wanted to switch up the flavor love game and put beets with something that complimented their sweetness which in this case, basil, worked out perfectly.
So why beets as a base for a cocktail? Not only are they naturally sweet and vibrant in color, beets are a killer source of nutrients. Seriously, they are vitamin and mineral rockstars. They contain big deal vitamins like vitamin C, A, and B-6 and roll with minerals you may have heard of like iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and magnesium. They also include some minerals you may have never heard of (or can pronounce) like thiamin, riboflavin, manganese, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, and selenium. The benefits of all these vitamins and minerals include lowering blood pressure, increasing stamina, detoxifying your liver (ironically). They also contain anti-inflammatory properties from the antioxidant betalain found in beets as well as promote regularity as they are high in fiber. There are tons of articles out there in this internet world with further details about beet nutritional properties and all the great side effects of regularly incorporating them into your diet.
I personally think this cocktail would make a great brunch drink to change up the typical Bloody Mary on the menu. There is a luscious earthy undertone that is similar to that of a Bloody Mary but no spiciness, just sweet, with that same great kick of vodka. Also, because of it's deep rose red color and amazing benefits, I'll go as far to recommend it as a cocktail for a Valentine's or Galentine's Day dinner or brunch. A few other appropriately colored beverages for Valentine's Day can be found here or here. However, I would hope there is also some chocolate later on in the evening as well. :)
To make this cocktail, start by muddling a few leaves of basil with the honey and lemon juice in your shaker to really bring out all the wonderful sweetness of the basil. Then, fill the vessel halfway with ice and add the vodka and beet juice. Give it a healthy shake for about 10-15 seconds and then pour into your glass. You can garnish with a basil sprig or leaves for a nice color contrast against the red.
The glass displayed here is actually a little vintage coupe that an amazingly creative colleague gave me as a homemade candle gift for Christmas. Once I burned through all the wax, it was too pretty to recycle, so I had to repurpose it! Boy, am I glad I did. This glass hasn't reached the end of it's beverage serving days for sure.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, I'm not just striving to look my best, but feel my best as well. I think it's time we show love for ourselves, folks! Give this healthy cocktail a shot... of vodka. You won't be disappointed in how lovely it tastes!
- 1/2 oz honey or agave (for vegan)
- 2 oz pure organic beet juice
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- Muddle together the basil, honey (or agave), and lemon juice for a good 10 seconds in a shaker until the basil is fragrant. Fill halfway with ice and add the beet juice and vodka. Shake for 10-15 seconds the pour into final drinking glass.
- (Optional) garnish with a basil sprig.