No, the Oaxacan Beet Box is not the name of a Mexican instrument or hip-hop cover band. It’s actually a craft cocktail favorite that has remained on The East End restaurant’s menu since the establishment’s opening two years ago. One sip of this unorthodox take on a classic margarita will send you on a bit of a sensory rollercoaster, oscillating between perplexion and exuberance.
The Oaxacan Beet Box is made with mezcal, beet-carrot-ginger juice, and garnished with a slice of lime. Upon first taste of this colorful drink, your palate is hit (almost too forcefully) with the smoky-pepperiness of the mezcal – tequila’s slightly more luxurious sibling. The sensation makes you wonder if you were stupid to stray from a traditional margarita in the first place. But after a few more swigs, the flavors meld, rounding out the concoction into a refreshing, well-balanced cocktail. The beet juice mixture gives the cocktail an interesting mouth feel, presenting differently than other non-alcoholic mixers. Thicker than fruit juice and thinner than coconut milk, the beet mixture proves earthy and sweet (but not too sweet) to balance the tartness of the lime and the acidity of the traditional Mexican liquor.
Inspiration for the East End favorite came from bar manager Kayleigh Speck’s desire to include more kitchen-based items on her bar menu. “Running a bar that also has a great food program, I also wanted to use more culinary elements into drinks. So, rather than just using citrus, using things that we use on our food menu as well.” With summer in full swing, Kayleigh is changing the menu for the warmer months. Maybe she’ll come up with another masterpiece to rival her beet juice creation. 244 Wickenden Street