The Root Vegetable Chronicles: Beet Bubbly
And now…something a little bit different.
I’m always up for any new way to use beets. I love beets. When I was very young, apparently I would start to cry if I saw someone finish the last of the beets on the table for dinner. That’s some serious beet devotion.
This recipe is from Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, in Ithaca. Using shredded cooked beets, you make a simple syrup flavored with maple syrup, cinnamon, mace, and a little teensy bit of cayenne pepper.
The resulting spiced beet syrup is poured into a glass of sparkling wine or cider (I used a local Finger Lakes sparkling wine) and voila! Beet bubbly cocktail. It is seriously good, too. It’s a nice warm, spicy, complex flavor – reminiscent of mulled wine, a bit. It doesn’t taste particularly like beets, just warm and spicy and a bit sweet and with a subtle lingering warmth in your throat from the cayenne. We had it with sparkling wine, and also mixed with club soda for a non-alcoholic spritzer. It’s so tasty, very seasonal, and would be a really great new cocktail for your next get-together.
From Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, Ithaca, via Edible Finger Lakes Magazine, Winter 2008
2 large fresh beets
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
pinch of ground mace or nutmeg
750 mL bottle sparkling wine, sparkling cider, or other sparkling beverage
slices of orange peel for garnish, if you like
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the beets with a fork a few times and wrap them in aluminum foil, then place the foil packet on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for about an hour, until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork or knife. Remove from the oven, unwrap the foil packets, and let cool slightly. Slip the skins off the beets (they should rub right off.)
Using the shredding blade of a food processor or a box grater, shred the beets. Place the shredded beets in a saucepan, scraping all of the juice in. Add 2 1/2 cups water and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes (keep at a simmer, not a boil.) Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, mace, and cayenne and continue simmering, uncovered, for a half an hour. The beet syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
To make each serving, pour sparkling wine/cider/etc. into a glass and add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spiced beet syrup; gently stir and serve, garnished with a slice of orange peel, if you like.
Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week.