When I asked Molly Wellmann, Owner and Chief Mixologist of Japps, for her Egg Nog recipe, she happily obliged, but somewhere during the course of my visit to Cincinnati’s most unique drink spot, we got delightfully off track.  If beet juice and tequila doesn’t sound like your thing, you’re wrong.  Introducing – the Beet Around the Christmas Tree – one of Japp’s signature cocktails you’ll be drinking this holiday season.

As a self-admitted history nerd, including a 12-year stent in San Francisco working in the service industry, studying jewelry design, and earning the title of Metalsmith, Molly finds inspiration from the classic, the hard to find, a flavor, and sometimes, a story.  When asking a friend about their holiday plans, “We always just beat each other up around the Christmas Tree” was their answer, and Beet around the Christmas Tree was born.

When I think of vegetable-based beverages, V8 is the one that comes to mind, along with her edgier cousin – the Bloody Mary.  Rest assured, this drink tastes nothing like that.  The beets are soft, mildly sweet, and comforting – like family.  Mix in some white tequila for a little controversy, and garnish the experience with a fresh sprig of Rosemary.  It’s Christmas everybody – enjoy . . .

Beet Around the Christmas Tree

1.5 oz tequila (white)
.5 oz Vanilla syrup
.5 oz lime juice (fresh)
1 oz Beet juice

Add all ingredients together in a mixing glass.
Add ice.
Shake and strain into a glass on the rocks.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh Rosemary.

Classic Egg Nog

2 gallons whole milk
1 quart half & half
1 dozen eggs (seperated)
3 to 4 cups sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Put milk and half & half in a large pot.
Heat over medium heat until hot, but not quite boiling.
Put dozen egg yolks in a small bowl & dozen egg whites in a large bowl.
Beat dozen yolks thoroughly with 3 cups of sugar.
When milk is just about (but not quite) boiling, stir some hot milk into the egg yolk & sugar mixture. (this is called tempering the eggs…the idea is to bring the temperature up slowly, so that you don’t hard cook the eggs)
Add this mixture to the milk.
Add cinnamon
Beat the egg whites until very stiff. (hard peaks)
Spoon some hot milk mixture into the egg whites, then add them to the pot. (same deal as the yolks)
Add more sugar to taste
Serve with grated nutmeg on top