Cheers! Peppercorn and arugula spice up a St. Patrick’s Day drink | Michigan Radio
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Cheers! Peppercorn and arugula spice up a St. Patrick’s Day drink

Mar 15, 2019

Grinding pink peppercorns and salt.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

On the counter there was a big stone mortar and pestle, and a capped bottle with a vivid green liquid in it labeled “ARUGULA.” It was clear, this was going to be a different kind of drink.

“I had reason to make some green cocktails a couple of weeks ago and I started thinking about how you can do that and arugula makes a really nice syrup. You just blend it with some simple syrup and you get this beautiful bright green syrup that has some of that nice peppery arugula bite,” explained Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.

That peppery bite was inspiration for selecting a spirit.

“I immediately thought of long road distillers Wendy Peppercorn spirit,” Tammy said.

Okay. A green drink for St. Patrick's day. That's better than green beer, right?

"Anything is better than green beer, Lester," Tammy quipped.

But, it still didn’t really explain the mortar and pestle. In it were bright pink peppercorns and some salt.

“I thought it really needed a touch of salt and it also just needed a touch of something else," Tammy said."  "That Wendy Peppercorn is a great spirit. But I wanted the peppercorns to be a little more punchy so I decided that it would be delicious and pretty if I were to put a rim on the glass.” 

Tammy uses a lime to wet the outside of the rim of the glass.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio.

You’ve probably seen a bartender just dip the rim of the glass in some liquid and then dip it in some salt. That means salt is on the outside and the inside of the rim.

“Here I just carefully used a lime wedge to only put some moisture on the outside of the rim and then I rolled it through that salt and pink peppercorn blend. So if you turn out to not like the saltiness or you don't like the extra pink peppercorn you're not constantly bringing more of that back into your drink as you sip it. And for the same reason I also chose to only rim half the glass,” she said.

The Wendy Peppercorn is pretty intense, so Tammy decided to mix in some of Long Road’s Original Vodka. Add some arugula syrup and some lime juice and you’ve got a unique drink.

St. Patrick Peppercorn

1 1/4 oz vodka
3/4 oz Long Road Distillers Wendy Peppercorn
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz arugula syrup
Rim: salt and pink peppercorn

First, prepare your glass. Grind salt and pink peppercorn together in a mortar and pestle or blitz in a spice grinder. Place on a plate. Use a lime wedge to moisten the outside rim of a cocktail coupe, then roll in peppercorn salt. Set aside. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into prepared glass.

Arugula Syrup

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 handfuls baby arugula leaves

Make simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepan and
heating until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. (Alternately, use 6 oz of
already-prepared simple syrup if you have it on hand.) Combine simple
syrup and arugula in a blender. Blend until well pulverized, but not
long enough to heat the syrup and turn it brown (15-30 seconds
depending on your blender). Strain through a fine mesh strainer and
store refrigerated.

This story has been updated to add the Arugula Syrup recipe.