Here’s the thing, I lived in Ukraine for two years as a Peace Corp volunteer and it drastically changed me as a person. I understand things about life, both mine and the grand scheme of things, that I didn’t before. Most importantly, I learned how to eat like a Ukrainian. What is it to eat like a Ukrainian? It’s food that you grow yourself. It’s potatoes from the earth, stored in the cellar alongside carrots and beets and onions. It’s food prepared in your summer cottage, or dacha. It’s fish caught in the river and smoked. It’s unhealthy amounts of mayonnaise but you don’t care because mayonnaise is delicious. Really, it is. It’s vodka.
Often the vodka is homemade but you only tell you’re friends you’re doing it because you’re not sure if you should be making vodka in the still your family has had for years. You only tell your friends even though everyone else is doing it too.
The vodka is plentiful. It’s a pre-meal drink. It’s a during-meal drink. It’s a post-meal drink. If the bottle is emptied, and it will be, you don’t dare put it back on the table because that’s just bad luck.
When I came across a recipe for a Beetnik Martini from Bon Appetit, the Ukrainian in me knew I needed to try it. What isn’t there to love in it? It’s beet infused vodka which has such an earthy flavor you can really enjoy because your friends will turn up their noses unless they truly love a good beet.
But maybe the beets won’t bring them in, maybe the ginger infused simple syrup will. It packs a punch on it’s own but melds perfectly with the citrus of the lemons and limes. All of the ingredients are noticeable in the drink, but not a single one overpowers the others.
If you can’t convince your friends to drink something that involves beets. Lie to them. Tell them it’s a fruity wine and laugh as they get drunk watch as they discover how much they like the drink in hand. For best results, skip the martini glass and serve in a glass that poses no risk of spilling even a drop of this drink.