Nick's Picks: The Root and Revel at Lento
Do you remember your first time? Maybe it was a bit awkward; maybe you didn’t like it; maybe it wasn’t what you expected; maybe you enjoyed it entirely. For many readers, your first time is probably a very distant memory—hazy and convoluted and with years of experience in between. Well, my first time was very recent. It was actually this past Friday night, at the bar at Lento, of all places. In that dimly-lit space, right in front of anyone who wanted to watch, I did it for the first time in my life. That’s right. On Friday night, I ate my very first beet.
Why it took me twenty-three years to try a beet is beside the point. What matters is a collaboration between Love Beets, a company with local roots, and Lento, the Village Gate farm-to-table restaurant, took my beet virginity in the most enjoyable way possible—with tequila.
Love Beets has a production center in Rochester and specializes in all-natural, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat beets. Some of its products include marinated baby beets that come in several flavors, vacuum-packed cooked beets, beet juices, beet powder, and beet salsa.
While you can find the products in supermarkets all over the 585, Love Beets cocktail collaboration with Lento is its first partnership with a local restaurant.
Created by Lento’s lead bartender Charles Weckworth, the Root and Revel is made up of Espolon Tequila, Hum Botanical Spirit, lime, beet shrub, and sweet chili–flavored Love Beets.
“We put the beets in a jar and surrounded them with pickling juice, spices to pair with the tequila, and some sugar to sweeten it up,” says Weckworth. “I let it sit overnight and recooked it to make the beet syrup. So it’s a recombined syrup with both pickled beets and fresh beets.”
The result is a delicious cocktail with strong flavors, a perfect symmetry of bitter and sweet, and just a hint of heat.
“It’s wintertime, so a nice, heavier construction works great,” says Weckworth. “Vegetables work great with tequila, vegetable syrups are hot right now, and it’s a growing trend.”
The Root and Revel will only be available at Lento until mid-January, but keep an eye out for Love Beets products on local menus as it brings its beets to other area restaurants.
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