I intended to drink a mocktail, it being a new year and all, but the beet margarita at Basic Kitchen seemed a good compromise. General manager Kelly Holmes describes it as the epitome of the philosophy of Basic Kitchen, which serves clean, veggie-heavy food. Instead of chicken wings, you get buffalo cauliflower. Instead of pasta you get sweet potato noodles. And when it comes to cocktails, instead of boozy drinks with heavy flavors, you can get a beet margarita.
Holmes says they consulted with Marc Hudacsko (Little Jack’s) to create the cocktail menu with an emphasis on fresh, light, lively and simple. “It doesn’t weigh you down,” she says. “But it’s still fun.”
The beet margarita is indeed fun. Smooth tequila and tart lime gets a floater of beet juice, which is housemade and also bottled and sold separately. Made with apples, beets, lemon juice and cucumbers, the bright pink juice balances out the lime, reducing the hyper-tartness normally found in margaritas and adding a vegetal earthiness.
BK juices get mixed up in creative ways in other cocktails too. The Bright & Stormy riffs on the Dark & Stormy by adding the BK Bright Eyes juice to rum and grapefruit drinking vinegar. If you like a good negroni, opt for the Not So Basic and get a dose of housemade kombucha with tequila, aperol and Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth.
Another novel ingredient is aquafaba, also known as chickpea juice and used as a replacement for egg whites so vegans can enjoy a frothy cocktail too. Without Wings is a delicious twist on the whiskey sour with kombucha, aperol and a beautiful head of creamy aquafaba.
Whether Basic Kitchen’s healthy doses of veggies, kombucha and fruits into the cocktails counteract liquor is beside the point. Drinking (and eating) here makes you feel pretty good about yourself, as if you might just get up in the morning and take that yoga class after all.
— Stephanie Barna