I am not much of a drinker, but when I walk into the Red Room I have the hardest time picking just one cocktail. My usual is the Laura Palmer, and not just for the David Lynch reference, but because it is made up of house infused organic rose tea vodka, fresh lemon, iced tea, citronage, and served over ice. I’ve never had a bad drink at this place. On my last visit, there was a drink on the menu called the Beetnik. Beet infused tequila, rosemary simple syrup, lime juice in a salt & pepper rimmed glass. Yes, please. So often a cocktail is too sour, too sweet, or just tastes of pure alcohol. The beet offered that missing base note to round the whole thing out. As soon as I could manage it I did a little research on infusing, found an excerpt from Hip Sips by Lucy Brennan, and used it as my starting point.
I decided I’d infuse both vodka and tequila. The above picture was taken only moments after the beets entered the alcohol, and already the most beautiful color had appeared. The infusion is meant to sit for three days, which left me plenty of time to make some rosemary simple syrup. Equal parts sugar and water, a handful of rosemary, bring to a boil, then let cool, strain into bottles. I stuck a small rosemary sprig in each bottle to remind me what it was, since I have a bad habit of not labeling anything.
After three days I strained the vodka, which was beautifully red and smelled like freshly dug earth. I decided to let the tequila go a few days more. The tequila is darker in color and more complex in flavor.
My take on the Red Room’s Beetnik:
Ice for chilling and shaking
3 oz. beet-infused tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. rosemary simple syrup
freshly ground black pepper
Chill a martini glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the tequila, lime juice and rosemary simple syrup. Replace the lid and shake for a count of ten. Rub a wedge of lime on the rim of the martini glass then dip into a plate of coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper. Strain the cocktail into the glass and drink immediately.
P.S. While we are on the subject of cocktails, another favorite is one first made for me by my brother, the El Diablo.