As a love letter to Tjoget, Sweden's only bar (so far) on the World's 50 best bars list, we have made their signature cocktail “Beets by Tjoget” from scratch, in our home bar.
There are five ingredients needed to make this drink, and at least four of them require som planning ahead. Some of the ingredients could potentially be bought ready-made, but here we went all in, making everything ourselves. In this post we will show you how to prepare:
- Beet infused vodka (sous vide style)
- Toasted coconut syrup
- Fresh ginger juice
- Nutmeg tincture/bitter
The fifth ingredient is lemon juice. We will squeeze it freshly of course, but conveniently it requires no planning ahead.
Beet infused vodka. It is the beet vodka that defines this drink, both when it comes to color and taste. To make a reasonably sized batch you'll need:
35 cl (12 oz) neutral vodka
1 fresh beetroot (uncooked)
Start by roughly peeling the beetroot and then slice it into eight wedges. We recommend wearing plastic gloves while doing this or your hands will be super red for several days. Also make sure not to wear white clothes, and clean all used tools immediately efter chopping.
Next step is to infuse vodka with this chopped beetroot, and it's done sous vide-style. So put the beet in a sturdy food graded plastic bag, sealed in one end. Then pour the vodka into the bag, and vacuum-seal it. The coloration process will begin directly, but to maximize flavor the whole bag should now be put into a sous vide-bath. Set the temperature to 55°C (131°F) and let the bag simmer in the bath for four hours. After that cool down the bag in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Carefully open the bag and strain the vodka into a cleaned bottle. You are now left with an intense ingredient that will define the cocktail we're making.
The next ingredient to make is toasted coconut syrup, which will be the sweet element in “Beets by Tjoget”. It is possible to buy coconut syrup ready-made, but it's fairly easy to make yourself and it smells absolutely gorgeous while doing so.
- Start by gently toasting a deciliter of coconut flakes in a hot pan. Make sure not to burn the flakes, but they should definitely start to brown noticeably.
- Add the toasted flakes to a food bag, and also add a deciliter of sugar and a deciliter of fresh cold water. Vacuum seal the bag and sous vide for four hours in 55°C (131°F) water. Yes, this is the exakt same time and temperature as the beetroot vodka. So the infused vodka and the coconut syrup can both be made in the same sous vide-bath at the same time. Very practical.
- Once done, strain out the coconut flakes and bottle the syrup. It should last for a few weeks if properly refrigerated.
(The syrup could also be made without sous vide-equipment. Just put all three ingredients in a pot instead, and gently let it simmer for a few minutes, allowing the sugar to completely dissolve. Take it from the stove and let it cool down a bit before straining into a bottle).
Next we'll will be making fresh ginger juice - very easy to make - in theory…
- We used a large piece of organic ginger that we started by peeling. We've always found that scraping the skin with the edge of a spoon is the best method to peel ginger. Although there's no need to be super particular about it, if you've rinsed the ginger under water beforehand it's not a problem if some skin is left in the end.
- Next grate the ginger finely, into a bowl. We used a Microplane grater which worked well, even if it meant a lot of manual labour. Put all grated ginger into a large strainer, and squeeze out the juice by pressing on the content with a spoon. Collect the juice in a fitting bottle. We also added a small amount of water (to make the juice a bit less intense) and some lemon juice (as a natural preserver). Then store in the fridge until it's time to use.
The nutmeg tincture functions almost as a bitter. We didn't really find a recipe for it, but we decided to just soak grated nutmeg in neutral vodka, which turned out very well.
- So start by grating one whole nutmeg. Once again, a fine Microplane grater will do the trick. Watch your fingers though, a nutmeg is tiny and slippery!
- Put the grated nutmeg in a small container and cover it with vodka. Leave for at least 4-6 hours before fine straining the infused vodka into a clean dropper bottle.
And this is it! As long as we have fresh lemons available (every home bartender should) we now have everything we need to mix Tjoget's signature cocktail.
5 cl (1,75 oz) beet-infused vodka
2 cl (0,75 oz) fresh lemon juice
2 cl (0,75 oz) toasted coconut syrup
1 barspoon fresh ginger juice
1 dash of nutmeg tincture
Shake all ingredients with fresh ice and fine strain into a coupe. Serve without garnish, the color of the cocktail will speak for itself.
The drink tastes phenomenal. There is a certain vegetal quality to the beet vodka. It's an earthy experience, tasting very much of Sweden somehow. Then the stingy ginger juice marries the toasted coconut syrup, turning almost into something cake-like when it comes to flavor. The nutmeg adds an element of Christmas - we always associate it with gingerbread. And finally all the lemon balances the sweetness well, turning this into an intriguing sour.
And we must focus on the color a bit. As we have made everything in this drink ourselves, we can be absolutely certain there are no artificial food coloring whatsoever in this cocktail. It is the beetroot bathing sous vide with vodka for four hours that gives this drink its color. Super pleasant, extremely authentic and almost heartwarming to drink.