Friday, October 16, 2009

Arugula Spirits!

One day last year, I overindulged in chocolate
. I rarely actually overindulge in chocolate anymore, because it makes me feel like hell. I do eat chocolate, however, pretty much every day. So anyway, on this one particular day, I was feeling lousy and I asked one of my wise-beyond-his-years friends what the opposite of chocolate was because I wanted to eat whatever it was. He suggested arugula. That was pretty awesome. I always remember this when I eat too much sugar, and proceed to eat a handful or more of the wonderfully spicy and bitter green.

Hmmm, I thought... how amazing would arugula liquor be? A concentrated form of alcohol, kind of like a tincture (yet I'd drink more than I would of a tincture), that I could drink when I didn't have fresh arugula on hand! As with most things, it takes me forever to actually put my ideas into action. This summer I actually started going back to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings. My boy works at 8 in the morning, so I usually get up with him, often after staying up way too late out at a rock show, and get my ass to the market to buy a backpack full of vegetables.

I did a little research on the existence of arugula spirits, and discovered that there's an Italian spirit called rucolino made of arugula that's drunk in small quantities as a digestive. Wicked. I looked for recipes, found something kind of fancy (if you consider lemon peel and cloves fancy) and decided to just do it straight up for my first time. Initially, I was going to make a liqueur out of it, but upon tasting it after a 25 day maceration period (this amount of time is insignificant-- I just decided to try it yesterday), I decided it tasted awesome, and that the original point of my making it was to combat the ill-effects of too much sugar, so frig it. Unfortunately, the colour of the liquor changed with age. At about 8 days, the vodka (50%, Smirnoff- the only 50% vodka I can find in these parts) was so beiutiful-- a perfect Misfits greens. Of course, as time went on, the colour got a little less bright and little more dingy. So, based on the success of this batch, I'm going to make another, stopping the maceration (the process of steeping herbs in unflavoured alcohol) at the height of its brightness-- probably somewhere around 7 or 8 days. I just got greedy last time, and wanted a large arugula factor. I've decided the arugula vodka (arugulaka?) tastes like plain green peas. My boy said that it didn't, that it maybe tasted like arugula.. yet he admitted he doesn't really know what arugula tasted like. He said that it was nice and sweet and kind of minty, so he drank about an ounce of it, which made me happy. He was eating arugula-- even if it was a trace amount steeped in strong vodka! My wonderful friend Tracy also disagreed that it tasted like peas, she said the vodka was kind of overpowering, and that all she could taste was whichever component of arugula was strongest-- something cooling, anyway... which is interesting, because arugula's kind of peppery. As for its medicinal effects, I've been feeling a bit on the crappy side for a couple of days, and I felt like my belly had a hole in it this morning (ok, it does, but more on that later). After my cauliflower and potato curry, I had about an ounce of the arugulaka, and I feel a lot better. I even chewed the pale translucent ghostly arugula leaves-- hoping it'd be kinda like the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle (not that I've ever eaten that). They were ok. Limp, yet still a bit crunchy. So, I can't wait to try this again, and perfect arugulaka. With any luck, I'll make it to the market tomorrow, after my brother's birthday fiasco, and buy some more aruuuugulaaaa.


  1. UM, YES, yes, epic, beautiful, extraordinary. I wonder if it'd be good made into a mojito.

    Bitter (arugula), sweet (sugar), sour (lime), salty (salt), Astringent (vodka)....

    It's like an Italian Ayurvedic Mexican drink of love.


  2. Perfect! I'm in. Let's do it. I'll bring the arugulaka!

  3. I found this post on google because I was looking for... this. You are the best person in the universe!

  4. Oh giladeeni, I'm so glad this was helpful to you. You're the best person in the universe for looking for this!

    I must warn you, however, that I had just a few drinky drinks of this and totally powerpuked on Hallowe'en that year. Be careful-- it is a strong bitter and should be drank in serious moderation.