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Cheers! Beets. I hate beets, and you put it in my mixed drink?

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
A beet, an egg, a lemon, chili pepper bitters, pomagranate juice, and gin. You're kidding, right?

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Do not mess with this woman when she's got her muddler out.

The woman was using her muddler like a weapon, smashing something to bits in her tin mixing cup.

“I had some frustrations to work out, Lester,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy's Tastings.

It turns out she was pounding diced up beet pieces, making mush of them.

“How do you feel about beets,” she asked me.

She already knew the answer. I despise the taste of beets.

“I think I'm going to change your mind with this drink,” she said with the kind of confidence that really underestimates how distasteful I find beets.

“Good luck,” I laughed, adding, “I keep trying beets every couple of years. I've gotten to the point where I'm kind of like George H.W. Bush. He didn't like broccoli. He stopped eating broccoli.”

He figured, as President, he could make such an important decision for himself. Not being president, I still feel I can make the decision not to eat beets anymore.

Now, Tammy is putting beet into a drink. She knows I’ll have to taste it. This is not fair.

I've only had one other drink with beets in it. That was for an episode we did with Valentine Distilling. That drink was actually very good, but I didn’t really detect the taste of the beet in it.

“Maybe all you need to make beets palatable, Lester, is a little bit of gin because that's what I'm using here today as well,” Tammy said.

As for what she’s calling this new drink she’s mixed up, she explained, “I'm using Knickerbocker Gin and it's got beets in it. I'm going to call it Knickerbeet.”

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Topping off the drink with club soda. It complements the egg white foam in a delightful way.

This drink has a pretty color and a rich foam on top. It’s got egg white in it, but some club soda complements the egg foam to make it smoother and lighter.

“I did the double shake technique where you first shake (the ingredients) without any ice and then you shake it with ice,” Tammy said.

A sip of the drink did not reveal that beet taste that I really don't like. I couldn't really tell there was beet in the drink.

“I can definitely tell there are beets there, but it's in this sort of subtle earthiness that it adds to the cocktail rather than any overt beet flavor,” Tammy said.

I suppose I don't mind drinking them. I'm certainly not sold on eating them.    


1 slice beet, muddled well

1 1/2 oz gin (Knickerbocker)

1 oz pomegranate juice

1 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lemon juice

2 dashes spicy bitters (optional)

1 egg white

1-2 oz club soda

Combine all except club soda in shaker. Shake without ice for 10-15 seconds. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a real glass containing a couple of ice cubes. Top with club soda.

Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.

Edit: This story was updated to correct the spelling of the drink.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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