Beetroot is the ‘peculiar flavour’ that Martin McConnell just can’t escape

He's one of the high-flying young guns at Brisbane bar of the moment, Frog's Hollow Saloon.

Beetroot is the ‘peculiar flavour’ that Martin McConnell just can’t escape

Martin McConnell is one of the young guns behind the stick at Brisbane CBD bar, Frog’s Hollow Saloon — it’s a busy stand-up bar with a lot of country tunes on the playlist, where a good time is prioritised.

Part of that good time is comprised of some great drinks, and it’s those creative skills that McConnell has flexed with his entry into the 2022 Patrón Perfectionists cocktail competition.

Below, lightly edited and condensed for clarity, McConnell steps us through his recipe, why he chose beetroot — which can be a polarising flavour — for his cocktail, and what the term petrichor, from which he gets the drink’s name, means.


Sam Bygrave: What’s your drink all about, Martin?

Martin McConnell: So the drink’s called Petrichor. It’s kind of playing with beetroot as the major flavour, the hometown hero ingredient. Beetroot’s got a really interesting element in it that’s actually the same scent as petrichor, which is the smell of rain. So it’s playing with that earth and rain and all that combination.

I mean, beetroot is about as Australian an ingredient you can get. Why did you choose that as the hometown ingredient?

I was actually born in Scotland and I came over when I was seven. It was just kind of like a peculiar flavour that I couldn’t really escape. It was something that we had, it was on every table. It was in the tuckshop lunch so to me, it just became really synonymous with Australia. And that’s what I wanted to highlight and bring out in that way.

Can you sort of give us a rundown on the recipe for your drink?

Yeah, Patrón Silver is obviously the highlight. It’s a simple beetroot syrup, which is juiced with some sugar as well. Fino sherry to add a bit more earthiness and just paired with the tequila, hibiscus made into a tea using native Australian which is rosella — carbonated and that’s  ready to go.

It almost looks just like a glass red wine.

Beetroot can be a bit of a polarising flavour though.

I was playing around with a few different ways of doing it. I just liked the simplicity angle of it being the juice. It’s only 20 ml, so it is still there, but it almost just kind of comes through as like a funky fruitiness. And I think it’s just plays really well with tequila.

Talk to us about what this term petrichor means.

Petrichor is the smell of fresh rain after a dry spell. You can you can pick up the scent really, really well. We’ve just evolved to find water that way. So we’re really sensitive to that smell. Which is why when we have beetroot, or things that contain this chemical called geosmin, we pick it up really easy. It’s like a real survival aspect, which is really weird.



  • 40ml PATRÓN Silver Tequila
  • 20ml Verjus
  • 10ml Manzanilla Sherry
  • 45ml dried hibiscus/rosella tea
  • 15ml Beetroot Syrup

Carbonated and garnished with Patrón pine spray.

Combine all ingredients into a PET bottle, chill and force carbonate. Pour into Burgundy glass. Spray Patrón pine atomiser lightly across the glass and above the guests.

For the Beetroot Syrup:
500g Beetroot Juice
500g Caster Sugar

Remove beetroot skin and juice the remaining flesh in a cold press juicer. Blend beetroot juice with caster sugar (1:1). Bottle and store in fridge.

For the Dried Hibiscus/Rosella Tea:
20g Dried Hibiscus/Rosella
200g Boiling Water

Combine hibiscus and boiling water together and steep for two minutes. Fine strain and bottle.

For the Patrón Pine Spray:
100ml Patrón Silver
5 drops Pine Essential Oil

Combine Patrón Silver and essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake and spray.