The Rockin’ Oaxacan
By Heidi Allison
A magical flavor pairing occurs when you mix freshly-squeezed beet juice, smoky Mexican mescal, fresh citrus juices, smoked sea salt and mint…an exquisite new cocktail that puts a whole new spin on its signature ingredient— the red beet. The “whole” is greater than the sum of its parts in this recipe, and, somehow boring beets are transformed into an amazing elixir.
This is also a visually stunning drink to hold in your hand, its deep, rich, ruby color reflects prisms of light served in a vintage, cut crystal rocks glass. Its also creates a masterfully balanced, yet refreshing cocktail, that offers a cutting-edge alternative to the iconic Marg.
This recipe showcases the culinary classic “smoky- sweet” flavor pairing, with a hint of citrus and bracing mint. The grace note is smoke. The smokiness from the mescal adds complexity and depth to the sweet, yet rather bland, taste of the beets, which is reinforced with smoked salt. It’s crucial to add freshly-squeezed citrus juices – the mildly acidic Meyer lemon and more aggressive lime act as counterpoint flavors to the beetroot’s earthy richness, lending a refreshing brightness to the finished drink. Adding a dusting of smoked sea salt right before you serve it is another trick – this adds a cold smokiness, which should be the first flavor that hits your lips. One caveat: do not rim the glass with smoked salt. Sprinkle a bit of smoked salt over the ice right before you serve…as the ice melts, the salt fuses into the cubes and remains in place—nice mixology trick! The playful nose hit from the fresh mint, used as a garnish, is not just used for “pretty looks” – this surprise scent wakes up the senses and cleanses both mind and palate.
The Rockin’ Oaxacan
Good Quality Ice (about ½ cup per drink)
Juice of 4 Fresh Red Beets (about 1 cup)
½ teaspoon Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup
2 ounces Good-Quality Mescal
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
Smoked Sea Salt
Sprig of Fresh Mint
Place in a 8 ounce rocks glass the following ingredients, taking care to follow this order: a handful of ice ( about ¾ of the way up), 1 ounce of fresh beet juice, agave nectar, Mescal, lime juice, lemon juice and stir till combined. Sprinkle smoked salt over the ice and garnish with fresh mint. Serve.
Beet juice will keep, covered in the fridge, for 5 days. Add unused extra juice to salad dressings instead of sugar.