Best Way to Start Your Night With a Salad

Critics' Pick

Every now and then we’ll throw out a Bartender Challenge to a local drink-maker to see if mixologists really can turn any inspiration into a cocktail worth tasting. We thought we’d finally found a way to stump somebody when we asked Scott Harris — the beverage director for the cocktail programs at Toast, Estilo and Hutch — to create a drink using the classic beet and goat cheese salad as a starting point. But he somehow came through, producing a tangy, slightly sweet, slightly earthy cocktail that practically glows with fuchsia light.

It Beets a Mule
2 ounces Del Maguey Vida Mezcal tequila
1 ounce beet and peppercorn shrub*
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with passion. Double strain into a rimmed cocktail glass, and garnish with shaved frozen goat cheese across the surface.

* Beet and Peppercorn Shrub (Adapted from a recipe in Imbibe Magazine)

10 organic red beets
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Purée the beets and vinegar in a blender. Press it through a fine mesh strainer to capture. Combine the juice, sugar, peppercorns and salt in glass container. Cover and let steep for 24 hours at room temperature. Strain the mixture through a double-wrapped cheesecloth and pour into another glass container. Refrigerate and use within two months.

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