Before we get to the heart of this post (the “Booze Review and Cocktail” bit that I mention in the title), let me give you a brief timeline as to how all of this came together…
- Friday September 16th – An email from Food Shelter PR landed in our inbox asking if we’d like to sample the latest from Lansdale, PA’s Boardroom Spirits. The photo up above is what they asked us to try. B Beet Spirit is what it’s called. Obviously, we said yes.
- Wednesday, October 5th – The package arrives.
- Friday, November 4th – My Boys spent the night with my in-laws, so Mrs. G-LO and I decided that we would go out out for Indian food at a little place called Indeblue which is located in Collingswood, NJ. Dinner was delicious, and we mostly took it easy (all appetizers, no entrees), so when I got home, I decided to review the booze in the above photo and work on some cocktail recipes, because in my mind, clear spirits should be cocktailable. Hell, anything with alcohol is cocktailable if you know what you’re doing! I rarely do. Know what I’m doing that is.
- Monday, November 7th – With three serviceable cocktail recipes at my disposal, I headed over to Limpd’s to get a second opinion on my concoctions as well as the spirit itself.
- Thursday, November 10th – Mrs. G-LO, The Boys, and I were away on vacation. We went on a short cruise aboard Holland America Line’s (HAL) brand new ship, the ms Koningsdam. A couple weeks prior to sailing, I reached out to their PR department and asked if I could arrange for an interview with the Food and Beverage management aboard the ship. It turns out that my timing was perfect, so an interview was scheduled with Dale DeGroff (aka King Cocktail, who is working on HAL’s cocktail program as a consultant), Francisco Fernandez (Senior Manager, Beverage and Signature Services at HAL), and Gerald Mosslinger (Vice President, Food and Beverage at HAL). This interview will be the subject of another post. So why am I mentioning it now? Because during the interview, I asked Mr. DeGroff for some help with the naming of the cocktail recipes that I pulled together using the B Beet Spirit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t clear as to the ingredients (when I said that orange was an ingredient, he thought I meant orange juice. Guess I should have said orange peel), so I inadvertently sent Mr. DeGroff down the wrong path. He thought that cocktails #2 and #3 fell into the Daisy category, but after doing a bit of research about what a Daisy cocktail actually entails, I quickly realized my blunder. Long story short, instead of a cocktail name from a cocktail legend for my creations, I went with the names that Limpd (a different kind of legend, but a legend nonetheless!) came up with. I think he did an excellent job!
Now that you know how we wound up with the B Beet Spirit and why we decided to cocktail it up, here’s a bit of information about B taken directly from the press release that landed in our inbox:
Boardroom Spirits an award-winning regional artisanal distillery, announces the launch of B, a 90 proof, one-of-a kind vegetable brandy (or eau de vie) the distilling market in North America has yet to see.
Like all the Boardroom Spirits portfolio of products, B is gluten-free and contains no artificial flavors, colors, added sugars, or preservatives. Sold in their Lansdale, PA Distillery for $29.99 and found on the inventive cocktail lists of local Philadelphia restaurants including Martha and Harvest, the 375 ML bottle is distilled from 100% natural beets creating an earthy, bold bouquet and a distinct flavor profile. Although beets have high sugar content, it is lower than most fruits so it takes 16 pounds of beets to ferment, distill, and bottle one precious liter of B.
B is the result of creative chemistry combined with the distilling heritage, technology, experience, and overall ingenuity of Boardroom’s Armenian and Hungarian founders. Invented in the Middle Ages, Pálinka is a traditional fruit brandy regulated by European Union law in Hungary, which to this day, allows home distilling. Boardroom Spirits took that passion and tradition, added state-of-the-art equipment and technologically savvy processes to ensure quality control, and utilized the resources of the area to locally source and create something completely unique.
Let’s see what we thought of B on it’s own…
- Appearance: Crystal clear.
- Limpd: Wow! That’s a lot of beets!
- G-LO: Smells just like beets with some lemon oil and menthol notes too.
- Limpd: Not at all like the aroma. Really palatable. A little alcohol heat and a bit of herbal, earthy beets flavor.
- G-LO: Medium mouthfeel with a touch of oiliness. Very crisp, fresh, and clean tasting. Has the earthiness of beets really coming through. Some citrus and herbal notes along with some sharp pepperiness too. The finish is peppery with a slightly herbal aftertaste.
- Limpd: A bit like a Vodka or a Gin (without the off putting Juniper). Probably not a sipping drink for me. Maybe shots. Definitely cocktails! One question. How do they get rid of the red color?
- G-LO: Much more enjoyable that I thought it would be. Almost has a Tequila type quality with those vegetal notes coming through. Would make a lovely digestif thanks to its soothing qualities.
I definitely liked this straight, but I couldn’t get the idea of a cocktail out of my head. For whatever reason, a roasted beet salad (beets, oranges, pine nuts, herbs, and some sort of vinaigrette) kept invading my thoughts. In order to test the versatility of this spirit, I planned on making a long drink and a short one using this salad idea as my inspiration, so off to the grocery and liquor stores I went!
Here’s what I came up with along with our impressions of each cocktail…
Cocktail #1 – Captain Blood’s Scurvy Beeter
- 1.5 ounces of Hendrick’s Gin
- 1/3 ounce of B Beet Spirit
- San Pellegrino Blood Orange Soda
Method: Pour the Gin and B into an ice filled highball glass. Fill to the top with the blood orange soda. Stir to mix. Garnish with mint.
- Limpd: Love the citrusy aroma that was somewhere between a blood orange and a grapefruit. As far as the taste, I like how the Gin, Beet Spirit, and blood orange soda play together. I especially like how the earthy beet notes still manage to come through and temper the sweetness of the soda. Just a really nice cocktail that goes down smooth. Perhaps it goes down a bit too smooth because I’m having no trouble drinking this quickly.
- G-LO: This combination works pretty nicely. The beet flavor definitely comes through, but thanks to the Gin and blood orange soda, it tastes less like just beets and more like a roasted beet and blood orange salad. I know. It sounds weird, but it really works. Just be grateful that I passed on adding any goat cheese or pine nuts to this recipe.
Cocktail #2 – Madame Shirley’s Petite Beet Peeler
- 1.5 ounces of B Beet Spirit
- .5 ounce of Grenadine
- 1/3 ounce of Grand Marnier
- Orange peel
Method: Add B, Grenadine, and Grand Marnier to an ice filled shaker. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.
- Limpd: Much more of the beet spirit on the nose. Very syrupy. A bit sweet with some citrusy orange to cut the beet’s earthiness. This was a bit of a mismatch as the flavors and textures were a bit out of balance. Seemed like it was one ingredient short, but I don’t know what that ingredient might be. And no. It’s not missing any goat cheese or pine nuts.
- G-LO: While I like how the B came shining through, it’s definitely too sweet and syrupy. I like the tartness of the Grenadine, but it overpowers the orange flavors of the Grand Marnier.
Cocktail #3 – Madame Shirley’s Grand Beet Peeler
- 2 ounces of B Beet Spirit
- 1/4 ounce of Grenadine
- 1/4 ounce of Grand Marnier
- Orange peel
- Sprig of fresh rosemary
Method: Add B, Grenadine, and Grand Marnier to an ice filled shaker. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel and rosemary.
- Limpd: A whole lot of beet and a whole lot of rosemary. The syrupy sweetness is gone and has been replaced with some oomph! This is much better than the Petite Beet Peeler. The flavors in that one were more layered, i.e. they never really came together. In the Petite Beet Peeler, the alcohol is left to do its thing without the cloying sweetness. This is a pretty well crafted cocktail. I’m not really sold on the rosemary (this isn’t a roast pork for chrissakes!), but it definitely tempered the cocktail.
- G-LO: This is much better! Lots of beet flavors but much less sweet this time. Adding the rosemary really complements the earthy beetyness of the Beet Spirit. This was easily my favorite cocktail of the three.
So there you have it! A spirit review and three cocktail recipes. If you’ve had B or have any other cocktail ideas for this very unique spirit, feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Cheers!