Yes, this cocktail is based on murder. In the mid-19th century, Confederate soldier Tom Dula (pronounced "Dooley") allegedly killed girlfriend Laura Foster, a crime for which he was later hanged — and then immortalized in song. But don't think of those sordid details while enjoying this blood-red beverage. The nuttiness of the amontillado shines through here, but the real kicker is the Old Tom gin, which is slightly sweeter than your typical London dry and complements the earthy beets. If you can't find crushed ice, serve this number over cracked ice instead. You'll want that extra dilution.
1 1/2 oz Old Tom gin (I like Tanqueray's)
1/2 oz amontillado sherry
1 oz beet syrup
3/4 lemon juice
1 cup beet juice
1/2 cup sugar
Reduce the beet juice — available at juice shops or health food stores — by half over medium-high heat. Once reduced, add sugar and heat until dissolved. Refrigerate before using. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into collins or high-ball glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with lemon twist.
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