As an introvert, I always marvel at how much I embrace the bright, buoyant holiday merriment of this time of year. While I find myself craving moments of quiet to pause and reflect in the days leading up to the new year, I also can’t help but celebrate. This may be in part because my birthday is at the start of the month, and falling as it does between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it feels like a heady riot of jubilance and contemplation, a balancing act between the old and the new, the sleeping and the waking, the festivities and the rest all wrapped into one glorious, slightly messy, joyously chaotic time of year. It’s magical.
Every year, I host a birthday holiday mash-up, a day where I can unabashedly celebrate my love for the season in the company of good friends and lots of yummy food and a toasty fire. And a huge Christmas tree. There is nothing I love more.
One of the many-splendored details of this season is its fresh, fleeting produce. The jewel-colored citruses are in full force, and while we may find pithy, mediocre oranges throughout the year, and beets of decent quality all twelve months, it is in these cold, dark months that they really shine. This was one of the reasons I started this blog: to give voice to produce in its season. And to find ways to celebrate the produce that can be hard to appreciate when our choices are slim.
When Hangar 1 Vodka invited me to partner with them to create a seasonal cocktail in celebration of all of this, it was an easy yes. Based in California and rooted in the seasonality that is so much a part of our worldview here, it was an intuitive partnership.
I wanted to get creative and play with something bold and red that wasn’t a cosmopolitan. We have been drinking a lot of freshly-pressed juice in my household, and it’s one of the ways that I enjoy beets most. I find that beets are often a polarizing vegetable and I understand why: their intensely sweet, earthy flavor can be overpowering. This cocktail incorporates just one ounce of beet juice into each drink, so it provides bold color and subtle flavor notes but doesn’t overpower. Paired with a generous splash of fresh lime and orange juices and a dash of bitters, and topped with a little sparkling water, it is super refreshing: perfect for a holiday brunch.
Beet Citrus Cocktail
In partnership with Hangar 1 Vodka’s vodka picking season campaign, here’s a bright, super seasonal cocktail to power you through holiday brunches, cocktail parties, and soirees. If you don’t have a juicer, look for beet juice at any well-stocked grocery store or your favorite local juice joint. It’s such a nice burst of bright, vibrant, fresh flavors in the winter!
For the simple syrup:
1 cup coarsely chopped, fresh ginger
1 cup water
1 cup natural cane sugar
For the cocktail:
9 ounces Hangar 1 Straight Vodka
3-5 medium beets, scrubbed and quartered (or find beet juice at the local grocery or juice shop)
6 limes, supremed and halved
3 oranges, supremed and quartered
6 ounces ginger simple syrup
Dash of Angostura, orange, or other preferred bitters
First, make the ginger simple syrup. Combine the ginger, water, and cane sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain the contents and set the simple syrup aside to cool. (Place it in the fridge to speed the process up.)
Run the beets through your juicer until you have 6 ounces of beet juice. Measure that out, and set aside. Run the limes and oranges through. Pour the citrus juices into a tall pitcher. Add the beet juice, 9 ounces of Hangar 1 Straight Vodka, 6 ounces of ginger simple syrup, and a few generous dashes of your favorite bitters. Stir.
Add a small handful of crushed ice to each of 6 glasses. Fill the glasses about halfway with the cocktail mix, and top with a few ounces of sparkling water. Enjoy!
This post was created in partnership with Hangar 1 Vodka.