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Two Left Feet. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Barman Kyle Fengler of Bridgehampton Inn Restaurant’s innate ability to layer flavors into cocktails is anything but awkward. But if you ask him about his dance moves, the talented cocktail creator is demure — but they make an excellent source of drink-naming inspiration. 

“My cocktail naming comes from a wide variety of different sources — mostly from my dad joke sensibilities. I have a corny sense of humor,” he says with a laugh. “In this case, I’m just a really poor dancer — nothing more to it than that.”

Were there a “Mixing and Shaking with the Stars,” though, Fengler would slay. For “Two Left Feet,” his rummy riff on a sour that employs fresh beet juice in the mix, the name is where any lack of dexterity stops. Fengler runs the restaurant as well as the beverage program at the 10-year-old Bridgehampton culinary destination (co-owned with his mom, Sybille Van Kemp, who is also the proprietress of Loaves & Fishes) and, as with all of his drinks, has created a direct and thoughtful line between the influence of the kitchen on the bar. 

“The beet was the focus, and everything branched out from there,” says Fengler, who sources them from Foster Farm in Sagaponack. He wanted to lean into the ingredient, which is quite abundant on eastern Long Island in the summer and into fall — but not something you often see in a drink. “I always look at how to take an ingredient and put it in a cocktail in a thoughtful, provocative and delicious way, not just interesting, so people actually want to come back and have it again. Like ‘Wow, this is totally unexpected; I want another!’ ” 

For Fengler, beets fall into a category of veggies that have complexity from their natural sweetness but offer quite a range of flavor from the different available varietals, making them a fun match for myriad spirits. Here, the fruity nature of the beets he gets from the Fosters is a gorgeous match for rum. 

“Venezuela’s Diplomático is a very soft and sensual rum. It’s a great sipping rum that doesn’t come off too hot on the palate. I wanted something to integrate well with the drink — not come across too strong or too alcoholic,” he says. “It really lends itself to balancing with the fruited profile of the other ingredients. One side doesn’t overpower the other.” Indeed, the ingredients meld so well together, it takes a moment before you even begin to slowly pinpoint the gentle, rum-caressed flavor of the beets here, kind of like recognizing an old friend at a party who you weren’t expecting to run into. 

Fengler serves it in a gloriously statuesque coupe. For the final flourish, he grinds toasted black sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle and gently adorns the perfectly foamy cap with them, adding a nutty, transportive aromatic that gently hits your nose before you even take a sip. It’s a drink both visually and gastronomically worth heading to Bridgehampton Inn Restaurant for (just one reason among many to get yourself a reservation). But if you’d like to try your hand, the dance-shy drinks impresario is happy to share the details. 

Two Left Feet

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Serves 1 cocktail


  • 3 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Dark Rum
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz salted beet caramel
  • 1 egg white, from 1 large egg
  • toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 1 lemon peel, for garnish

For the salted beet caramel

  • 8 oz Demerara sugar
  • 2 oz water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 oz fresh beet juice
  • 1 oz black sesame seeds, toasted


  • Combine the first four ingredients in the Boston shaker. Seal the tin, and hard shake for at least 20 seconds to emulsify the egg white. Unseal, fill with ice, and reseal. Shake for a further 10 seconds to chill and dilute.
  • Unseal and double strain, first through a fine mesh sieve then followed by a Hawthorne strainer, into a chilled coupe glass. Sprinkle a few toasted black sesame seeds onto the very center for garnish and express the lemon peel over top for aromatics; discard the lemon peel. Serve immediately. Cheers!

For the salted caramel syrup

  • Combine the sugar, water and sea salt in a saucepan. Cook over low heat on a stovetop, stirring until fully dissolved. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan, and allow to boil, covered, for a further 2 minutes. Uncover, and continue cooking while stirring constantly for a further 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the beet juice and sesame seeds (be careful of splatter). Allow to cool and rest for 2 hours, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.