Beet Bubbly

from Eggs on Sunday

From Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, Ithaca, via Edible Finger Lakes Magazine, Winter 2008

2 large fresh beets
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
pinch of ground mace or nutmeg
750 mL bottle sparkling wine, sparkling cider, or other sparkling beverage
slices of orange peel for garnish, if you like

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the beets with a fork a few times and wrap them in aluminum foil, then place the foil packet on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for about an hour, until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork or knife. Remove from the oven, unwrap the foil packets, and let cool slightly. Slip the skins off the beets (they should rub right off.)

Using the shredding blade of a food processor or a box grater, shred the beets. Place the shredded beets in a saucepan, scraping all of the juice in. Add 2 1/2 cups water and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes (keep at a simmer, not a boil.) Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, mace, and cayenne and continue simmering, uncovered, for a half an hour. The beet syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

To make each serving, pour sparkling wine/cider/etc. into a glass and add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spiced beet syrup; gently stir and serve, garnished with a slice of orange peel, if you like.

Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a week.