Be Still, My Beeting Heart
Place honey, lime and mint in a shaker and muddle. Add ice, rum, beet juice and a dash of salt. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe or champagne flute. Top with chilled prosecco.
Garnish with mint sprig.
As the days get longer, I crave rum. Still, I’m not quite ready to swing into full-on, mojito mode. What about about a mojito-inspired cocktail more suitable for temperate climes? I have a bunch of beets in the fridge, so I decide to build this week’s drink around them. After trimming the greens, the beets weigh 2 pounds. I peel them, then run them through my juicer.
Using mojitos as my inspiration, I put nine large mint leaves into my shaker, then add half of a lime cut into quarters. Instead of sugar, I decide to use 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey since I like the taste of honey in a dressing I make for my beet salads. I put my shaker on the counter and muddle all of the ingredient so that the juices are released from the lime and the oils from the lime peel and mint. I then fill the shaker with ice and add 2 ounces of Bacardi white rum and 1 ounce of beet juice. I shake it until the outside of the shaker is frosted, then strain it into a chilled 8-ounce coupe, top it off with club soda and taste. Something’s missing.
My daughter walks in as I stare at my creation, thinking.
“What about a little salt?” she suggests, knowing that I’m using beets.
Allow me to interject at this point that she’s ten years old. She has not tasted this or any other cocktail, so I ask her, “Why salt?” And she explains, “Beets are sweet, and salt tastes good with them.”
Man, I love this kid.
So, for take two, I try adding a dash of salt, and, since I think the cocktail needs more complexity than the seltzer provides, I top it with prosecco instead. The result is exactly what I’m looking for — warm weather rum and lime combined with the root vegetables that make winter bearable. Now all I need is a hoodie and my shades.