Beet juice gets a new spin with Of the Earth Farm and Distillery’s beetroot eau de vie
I have long had a love-hate relationship with beets.
They’re a striking vegetable, cast in hues of deep purple, maroon and goldenrod. I love the color stains they leave behind on plates, napkins and fingertips — a vibrant, natural dye. Their Rubenesque shapes are more seductive than any peach I’ve encountered (can we get a beet emoji, please?). They are, by far, the most beautiful of all the root vegetables.
But they taste like dirt.
Or so I would say as I scrunched my nose up and tried to choke down a bite every time one of my healthier friends hovered a plate of them in front of me. At last, in my early 30s, I’m at a point where I can tolerate cold chunks of ruby-red beets in farm-fresh salads — with plentiful cheese.
I feel like I could have hopped on this train much sooner if someone would have poured me Of the Earth Farm and Distillery’s beetroot eau de vie.
Jim Pierce, who co-owns the farm and distillery with his parents (Jim Sr. and Patricia Pierce) and his wife, Sarah, describes this spirit as “liquid beets.” He’s not wrong — but for any skeptics, I’d add that it’s a good deal more drinkable than it sounds. The beetroot eau de vie, made with sugar beets and garden beets from Of the Earth Farm and other local growers, makes for a rather pleasant sip.
Eau de vie, a clear brandy made from fruit other than grapes, is typically light in flavor and unaged, with no additional sweetening agents. In other words, if you’re craving fruit but you really need a drink, eau de vie offers the best of both worlds. The genre originated in France, where common flavors include pear, raspberry, apple, plum and peach. Pierce’s beetroot eau de vie is quite
Jenna Wilkins is in charge of distilling operations at Of the Earth Farm and Distillery. She’s the woman who developed the recipe for the beetroot eau de vie. Wilkins thinks of her spirit as a relatively versatile cocktail ingredient, using it in lieu of vodka in Bloody Marys and martinis. With a little imagination, she says, there’s plenty more fun to be had.
Beetroot Bloody Mary Recipe
• 4 ounces tomato juice
• 2 ounces Of the Earth Farm and Distillery Beetroot eau de vie
• 2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
• 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
• 2 dashes hot sauce
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 pinch pepper
• 1 pinch celery salt
• Squeeze of 1 lemon wedge
• Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
• Strain into a prepared glass with ice.
• Garnish with speared pickles and olives, plus a stalk of celery.