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.
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.