Start the year off right with the healthy ingredients, dishes and recipes that will stick with you long after you’ve abandoned those pesky resolutions. We're going all in on Clean(er) Eating—and drinking, too.
Open the illustrated drink menu at Society Café in NYC, and you'll find the Field Guide to the Uncommon Cocktails of Middle Manhattan. Each item is accompanied by a taxonomic classification broken down into family, genus and species—a veritable scientific textbook of booze. Which is where we learned about The Conductor, a vegetable-centric concoction falling under the savory drink family, Bloody Mary genus and vodka species. "Bloody Marys went all the way to the left last year, sticking fried chicken on top of the glass," beverage director Albert DePompeis explains. Here, he lightens things up with this winter Bloody Mary, replacing the tomato element with carrot and beet. In the name of field research, we had to try it.
For this drink, beet-infused vodka is combined with purple carrot, lemon and pineapple juices for a slightly sweet, intensely savory cocktail packing all your daily vitamins into liquid form. If you can't track down DePompeis's choice of pre-infused beet vodka, Art in the Age, you can easily make your own at home. Simply peel and coarsely grate a medium-sized red beet into a glass jar. Cover the grated beet with one cup of vodka and seal. Refrigerate for two days, shaking once halfway through, then strain. You'll be left with one cup of beet vodka ready for action.
Next up: the garnish. Don't expect to find candied bacon or a raw bar's worth of shrimp around the rim of this glass. DePompeis's version is finished with a pickled purple carrot, a long strip of cucumber and a spoonful of soaked basil seeds—making the cocktail healthier than any item you'll find on a brunch menu.
"A Bloody Mary is all about the mouthfeel," DePompeis says. Which is where the basil seeds come in. To prepare them, simply cover the seeds in water and let them soak for 30 minutes. This causes them to swell into little jellylike pockets, similar to chia pudding, and perfect for spooning on top
If you're planning a menu, DePompeis recommends pairing the savory cocktail with a beet salad to keep it all in the family or hamachi to play off the delicate vegetal notes in the drink.
The Conductor Cocktail
Recipe adapted from Al DePompeis, Society Café, New York, NY
Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 5 minutes
1½ ounces Art in the Age beet-infused vodka
1½ ounces purple carrot juice
1½ ounces pineapple juice
½ ounce lemon juice
Pickled purple carrot, for garnish
6-inch, thinly sliced cucumber strip, for garnish
Soaked basil seeds, for garnish
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine the beet-infused vodka with the juices. Roll the cocktail by pouring the contents back and forth between 2 shakers, then dump the contents into a juice glass. Garnish with the pickled purple carrot, rolled cucumber strip and a spoonful of soaked basil seeds rested on the cucumber garnish, then serve.