Our friend Amanda Feifer is the author of a terrific fermentation blog, Phickle, and a recent book, Ferment Your Vegetables (Fair Winds, 2015). She introduced us to Beet Kvass, a savory vegetable drink that is made from fermented beets, ginger, and basil stems. With its funky, pleasantly tart flavor, we wanted to create a luxe purple cocktail that conjured the image of fresh beet roots pulled right out of the ground. In spring, who doesn't want to explore the super savory notes of wet earth, fresh herbs, and root tendrils? We reached into the liquor cabinet for several gins, genever, vodka, a variety of amari -- and the recipe testing began. Every night, a slightly different combination evolved into this, the So Kvassome. It combines all the flavors of a late spring garden through earthy kvass, malty genver, and herbaceous Cynar (made from artichokes). No, this drink is not for the faint of heart, but it is a revelation, especially when paired with salty snacks, pickles, smoked fish, and Pierogi! This bright-dark, sweet-sour cocktail is our wild call to fermented foods lovers everywhere!
So Kvassome Cocktail
Note: because the taste of kvass can vary from batch to batch, you may want to play with ratios here before serving. If your cocktail is too sour, dial up the Cynar or add a squeeze of fresh orange juice.
- 1 1/2 ounce genever
- 1/4 ounce + 1 teaspoon Cynar
- 3 ounces red beet kvass (recipe below)
- 1 blood orange slice, for garnish
- Pinch of flaked sea salt
In a shaker, combine genever, Cynar, and kvass. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange and drop a pinch of sea salt on top.
Psssst...we've been hearing about the new Beet Root Vodka from Art in the Age. Have you tried it? If so, let us know. Also, if you want to play with more kvass cocktails, check out The Gefilteria's Kvass Cocktail in Edible Manhattan.
Red Beet Kvass
- 3 large beets (3 pounds or 1.4 kg)
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) of ginger, grated
- 1 cup (24 g) whole basil stems
- 3 quarts (3 L) filtered water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (6 to 12 g) salt (optional)
Remove the beet greens and wash the beets. Trim any unattractive bits of root and any soft sports and cut each beet into eighths.
Add the beets, ginger, and basil to a 1-gallon (4 L) jar. Pour the water in and cover the jar either with an airlock or with a lid left loose enough to allow CO2 to escape.
Allow to ferment at room temperature for 6 to 10 days and then strain the liquid into a clean jar and chill before drinking.
Yield: 3 quarts (3 L)