The Borschtini. Photo and recipe by Susan Whitney.


2 oz  Caraway & Dill infused Vodka (recipe below)
0.5 oz Chive Blossom Dry Vermouth (recipe below)
0.5 oz beet juice
pinch of salt

Shake and strain into chilled martini glass.

Garnish with fresh dill.

After making another batch of last month’s Be Still, My Beeting Heart, I have some beet juice left over. Why not try a beet cocktail that leans savory instead of sweet? Thinking back to the time a friend served me a delicious Ukranian-style borscht in her New Orleans apartment, I decide to riff on a martini and call it a borschtini.

The backbone of the drink will be a caraway and dill infused vodka, but I don’t want to wait overnight to flavor the vodka, so I pull out the Sansaire sous vide machine a friend loaned me. Yay for foodie friends!

I start by filling a deep stock pot with water, clipping the sous vide to the side and setting the temperature to 176°F (80°C). As the water comes to temp, I toast 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds in a dry pan on the stovetop, then toss those seeds into a quart-sized ziploc bag with 1/4 ounce of fresh dill and 1 cup of vodka. Leaving the bag unsealed, I slowly lower it into a bowl of water, letting the pressure of the water press air through the top of the bag. Once most of the air is out of the bag, I seal it just above the water line. I then place the bag in the 176°F water and sous vide it for 10 minutes. Once the timer goes off, I use tongs to remove the bag from the pot and transfer it to a bowl of ice water to chill for another 10 minutes. Once chilled, I strain it into a glass container.

I fill a shaker with ice and add 2 ounces of my caraway and dill vodka, a half an ounce of the Chive Blossom Dry Vermouth I have on hand from making a batch of my Chive Blossom Gibsons, a half an ounce of beet juice and a pinch of salt. I shake it, strain it, pour it into a chilled martini glass, then garnish it with a sprig of fresh dill. Like the Chive Blossom Gibson, it would be delicious with a steak dinner. I’m going to a Mother’s Day cookout tomorrow. Maybe steak and Borschtini is just what momma needs.

Chive Blossom Vermouth

1.5 cups Dolin Dry Vermouth
9 chive flowers

Swish flowers repeatedly in a bowl of water, refilling as needed, until they are clean. (My flowers released many little black bugs that I liberated via multiple trips to the backyard.) Once clean, set the flowers on a towel to dry, then deposit them in a mason jar with the vermouth. Infuse for approximately 17 hours, then strain a couple of times to remove any flower bits. In order to extend its longevity, store it in the refrigerator in the smallest glass jar that will hold it. It will hold for at least three months, but it probable won’t last that long. 😉

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