So, it’s health that I’m thinking of here and hence – the Beetroot Martini, the healthiest repast you’ll find this side of a fish supper. At a stroke. Without the stroke.
Betaines contained in beets are thought to cut levels of homocysteine in blood vessels thus possibly preventing heart attacks and strokes.
This clever chemical compound may also protect against the liver disease you thought you were going to get with all the gin drinking.
As the man said: it’s all about work-life balance. Or in this case pleasure-risk balance.
Beetroot, too, can combat bad breath so after a couple of my martinis, you can approach your inamorata with confidence about the snog to come.
There are those who prefer a version of this cocktail made with vodka. There’s a great East European spot in South London – Baltic in Blackfriars Road – which does a lovely one.
Yet after trying both, I do prefer the old British version – with gin.
Hogarth would have appreciated it, I think.
Drop 6 ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and add a bunch of gin (Bombay Sapphire or Plymouth Gin are damned good and improved if kept for a while in the freezer)
Fresh lime juice, about half a lime per serving
Dash of creole bitters
Dash of celery bitters
(No arithmetician me, but you should aim at a ratio of about 3:1 in favour of gin)
Add the required beet mixture and give it a proper shake
Have some champagne coupes chilled in the freezer; rub the rims with fresh lime juice and dip them in some freshly milled salt and pepper
Place a couple of pimento-stuffed olives on a cocktail stick for each glass
Pour. Purr, purr, purr ...
Here’s an appropriate musical mix of the old and new which you might care to listen to as you take your first healthy sip on the road to recovery.