From childhood, we were told “eat your vegetables” by parents and teachers. As much as we might have preferred to binge on Oreos or roll-ups back then, we can now admit that they were absolutely right to insist we finish that last piece of broccoli. And the older we get, the more we discover all the incredible ways to prepare these natural delights. For us, almost everything is better when spiked with a little booze, veggies included. Whether you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the green juice craze or have a hankering for bright, bold beets, here are five fresh ways to drink your vegetables.
5 Boozy Ways to Drink Your Vegetables
Green juice has never been so tempting. If you’re looking for a healthier way to sip your vodka and ginger beer, this earthy Kale Martini from Albert Dempompeis of NYC’s Chalk Point Kitchen is just what the doctor ordered. Those who own juicers are already in business, but if you don’t have one, then a trip to the local juice bar is in order. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, simply mix 3.5 ounces of your favorite green juice blend with vodka and ginger beer for an instant pick-me-up.
Absolut Apple vodka
If you ever watched Doug, then you know: Beets are “nature’s candy.” We couldn’t agree more with the vested, wispy-haired cartoon character. Sweet, savory and earthy, with the ability to dye anything that they touch bright pink, beets are pretty darn magical. And as Ardi Dulaku—head bartender at SaltRock Southwest Kitchen in Sedona, AZ—shows, they’re pretty great in a cocktail, too. He created this lip-smacking libation, which mixes vibrant beet juice into a gorgeous, flavor-packed take on a Gin & Tonic. “Beets are great because they’re so versatile in flavor—sweet, earthy and jammy,” Dulaku says. “Their sweetness pairs well with the bitterness of grapefruit and the botanicals in the Aviation Gin, such as juniper, lavender and cardamom.” Dulaku adds a touch of lemon juice for acidity and brightness and finishes the whole thing with Fever Tree Tonic to make a refreshing, spritzy delight.
Raw Beet Syrup
Tomatoes and tequila are best friends in the Bloody Maria, but bartender Laura Kruming of Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar has other plans for the ruby red nightshade. “This is an earthy, funky Margarita riff that gets savory notes from cherry tomatoes and is complemented by the refreshing botanical flavor of Chareau Aloe Liqueur,” Kruming says. Finished with tart lime juice and a pinch of salt, it’s invigorating, delicious and difficult to have just one.
There are tons of ways to customize a Mimosa, but we never thought to add root vegetables to the brunch staple. “For me, carrots are bright and almost tropical, but on a very vegetal and earthy level,” Sarah Ruiz, head bartender at Dirty Habit in Washington D.C., says. “I was curious about highlighting those elements and creating a different—but still recognizable—flavor pairing for the Mimosa. After some trials, I found that adding acid to carrots made the flavor and texture similar to citrus, while maintaining that savory component." We suggest whipping up big batches of the carrot acid and ginger syrup to have on hand all season. Then, all you’ll need to make this grown-up Mimosa is a splash of aquavit and a sparkling wine topper.
There are all kinds of ways to enjoy the South American brandy, pisco, but we especially love the spirit when it’s mixed with a healthy balance of sweet and tart. For his nod to the Pisco Sour, bartender Sean Giordano of Chicago’s Fulton Market Kitchen harnessed the sweetness of spring peas. “We are trying to capture the essence of spring in a very floral, aromatic cocktail that has just a touch of savory quality at the finish,” Giordano says. “It's perfect as an aperitif or sipped alongside an early course such as salad, cheese or grilled seafood." Even though it’s made with spring peas, this delightful drink is perfect for imbibing any time of year.