Kvass is a fermented drink traditionally made from rye, but in this version, we use beets, which lend their beautiful red color to the finished cocktail.
Each year, deep in Minnesota's northwoods, Amy Thielen invites a close-knit band of friends to hunt her land, and fortifies them with lusty, late-fall dishes like venison and sauerkraut that rival any turkey and stuffing
For the beet kvass
- 7 very small beets, peeled and chopped
- 1⁄2 large apple, cored and diced
- One 2- to 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. canning salt
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
For the gimlets
- 4 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Make the beet kvass: Clean and sterilize a 1-quart glass jar.
In a large bowl, toss the beets, apple, and ginger. Transfer to the jar and add the salt and sugar; shake to combine. Add water so that it comes up 1 inch from the rim of the jar. Tightly seal, and shake thoroughly to dissolve the salt and sugar. Set aside, but repeat the shaking a few times in the next few hours.
Taste the kvass after 7 days (remember that pressure will have built up beneath the jar lid; open over a sink). It should taste pleasantly sour and have a slight natural carbonation. If not soured to your taste, replace the lid and let ferment up to 1 week more. Strain, bottle, and chill.
Make the gimlets: In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, combine 3 ounces of the prepared beet kvass, the vodka, and lemon juice; shake vigorously to chill, then pour into two ice-filled glasses. Serve immediately. Extra kvass will keep fizzy in a sealed container for up to 10 days.