This beet shrub has an earthy, savoury character. Distilled white vinegar is too sharp in flavour for most shrubs, but Michael Dietsch adds it to this recipe to evoke the familiar flavour of pickled beets. To serve, mix with chilled seltzer water to taste.
The beautiful thing about shrubs is that there are only two rules: something sweet and something acidic. From there, your imagination can run wild. Typically some variety of sugar does the heavy lifting, but here maple syrup offers a perfect hit of character and complexity. And although the beets maybe seem like an odd or unnecessary addition, they actually keep the sweetness in check with a welcome earthiness.
Beetroot shrub adds vibrant colour and an earthiness to a cocktail. It goes well with a variety of spirits particularly gin, rye whiskey, mezcal and tequila. Beetroot shrub can also be used as an ingredient in non-alcoholic cocktails such as when lengthened with soda water and garnished with lime zest.
Tools: blender, rubber spatula, mesh strainer
5 beets, cut into small chunks
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. kosher salt
Add the beets and both types of vinegar to a blender and purée. Using a rubber spatula, press the purée through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl; you should have 2 to 3 cups of liquid.
Add the beet-vinegar liquid, sugar, peppercorns and salt to a nonreactive container; cover and let steep for 1 day at room temperature. Taste for seasoning; if you prefer the taste to be more peppery, let the mixture steep for another day.
Strain through a mesh strainer and bottle; store in the refrigerator (the flavour will fully develop after a week), and use within 2 months.