Our latest cocktail has been a long time coming. Sometimes drinks come together quickly, other times less so. In this case, the original concept for Beta Test came from a brainstorming session between Matthew Campbell and Scott Baird months ago.
Much more recently, Matt C was juicing beets and thinking about naturally occurring pigments. What about a drink that is the color of juiced carrots? Ideally it wouldn’t taste much like juiced carrots, but still have that bright yet earthy orange hue. First, lemon and ginger were added to the mix to brighten, lighten and offset the vegetal profile of the carrot.
Matt then chose Calle 23, a classic highland reposado, to push the “green” agave flavor – highland tequila is generally more fruity/vegetal than lowland tequila. Further, this repo is stored in French oak, which imparts a slight vanilla across the mid-palate.
At this point, Scott suggested the addition of Aveze, a French gentian liquor that smells and tastes like old books cellared in a chateau and adds some bass notes to the cocktail.
Overall, this cocktail is based on the same flavor balance of our sangritas: sweet, savory, tart and spice. In this case, the spice comes from a house-made black pepper tincture that lingers on the finish and resets the palate, bringing you back for more.
Despite the somewhat unconventional elements comprising Beta Test and its long road to prime time, it’s surprisingly approachable. I’m not sure what the final tweaks were, but it has recently evolved from an “interesting” drink that was not quite “there” to a delicious drink, full of depth and complexity.