Not just grains or potatoes as foundational ingredients, but other things such as wild and cultivated grasses, bamboo, sweet potatoes, apples, tree saps, honey ... virtually any organic matter rich in starches or sugars.
And then, there is the dizzying array of flavor infusions that seem to know no end -- fruits both sweet and savory, melons, cocoa, nuts -- and coconuts -- as well as chocolates, coffees, teas, marshmallows, herbs, hops, caramel, elderflowers, cinnamon, ginseng root, root beer ... even candy bars and smoked salmon.
What I hadn't come across until now is beet vodka. A Philadelphia distiller with the unlikely name of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction recently released such a product as part of its "Garden Infusions" series that utilizes various seasonal items. Its earlier offerings were chicory root and sweet potato infusions. (The company's website is worth spending some time reading. Fascinating enterprise.)
While the deep reddish purple color of the final Beet Root Flavored Vodka certainly smacks of beets, it also contains elements of cranberries and apple pomace -- the fibrous remnant left after pressing of the fruit -- as well as honey, salt, and tarragon.
If you can lay hands on the product, here's a recipe for a cocktail to get you started.
BEET ROOT SMASH
2 ounces AITA Beet Root Vodka
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Splash of club soda
Lime peel and blackberries for garnish