I bypassed lots of decorative gourds and settled on some beets, because I remembered having seen a beet cocktail once in a book of seasonal drinks. And because I didn't feel like juicing a pumpkin. Juicing beets, it turns out, is quite an ordeal. The pumpkin might've been easier.
Right away, I cut into my beets and was horrified to discover that they were not bright pink on the inside, but rather pink and white striped. I began to panic, thinking I had accidentally bought radishes. A little research revealed that my beets were actually chioggia beets, an heirloom variety from Italy. Sources vary as to whether chioggia beets taste the same as other beets, or a little bit sweeter. I had nothing to compare them to, having never eaten raw beets before, and I thought they tasted like a carrot that's been rolled in dirt.
Cooked beets, of course, are much sweeter, but I couldn't help thinking that that earthy, rooty flavor would be a nice match for something else that's a little earthy and vegetal: tequila. Pair raw beet juice with tequila, lime, and ginger liqueur, and you get all the brightness of a margarita, but with a touch of dirt, like the raw, rich smell of a chilly winter hike.
1.5 oz beet juice**
1.5 oz tequila
3/4 Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice - shake and strain into a glass. (If you're using homemade beet juice you'll definitely want to double strain this one to remove any lingering beet gunk.)
*After considering many puns about beets, I went for the most obvious. Have other suggestions? Leave them for me in the comments!
**A note about juicing beets: This is totally possible, even if you don't have a juicer! It's just a complete pain in the ass. First you wash the beets, and then chop them up into little cubes. Place the cubes in a blender, and add enough water to get to a consistency that's a little slushier than what you'd expect from a smoothie. Then, run this unholy mixture though a strainer, pressing with a spatula (like so) to make sure you get all the juice out. (You will have to periodically discard the spent beet gunk to make sure your strainer doesn't get clogged.) Voila: fresh beet juice! Your kitchen is now a disaster. (You could also buy beet juice from the supermarket, and that would probably be ok.)