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Jul 20, 2014 01:48 PM


I've never tried the arugula based herbal amaro/digestif liqueur Rucolino from Ischia, Italy; but a little old Italian lady next door gave me two HUGE bags of arugula. i blanched it and vac packed it and stuck it into the freezer two days ago. Then last night I remembered reading about rucolino and decided to make some.

In each of two 1 liter ball jars I put semi-frozen chopped, packed, blanched arugula, about 1/4-1/3 full. The peel of one lemon, 8 cloves, 1/8th tsp each green cardamon, cinnamon and cassia, 1/4 tsp each of cubeb berries, grains of paradise, and allspice, and 1/2 tsp mace. Then I added 750 ml each of 160 proof neutral spirits, which took it right to the top with no air. I didn't add any sweetener yet. I'll let it sit for 2-3 months, agitating 1-2 times a week for the first few weeks. Then I'll taste and add simple syrup or honey syrup to taste, and let it sit for another 1-2 months. It should be ready for the Holidays.

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  1. Very cool. Let us know how it is.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sku

      Definitely. I opened the jars last night and topped them off with 1/4 oz. each of neutral spirits to get out the last air bubbles so there won't be any oxidation. Because I quickly blanched the arugula for 15 seconds in boiling water, then plunged it into ice water, I fixed the brilliant green color. I expect that it may stay a brilliant green much longer than usual in the infusion and aging process. Also, due to the blanching, I think that the amount I am using is probably 6-8 times the amount that would be normally used since blanched greens take up so much less volume. The aroma when I opened the containers was intense and amazing. I wiped the jars clean with a paper towel of the few drops that overflowed when topping off, and it smelled so great, and refreshing, that I wiped my face down with it and it was like a bracing tonic cleanse. It would make a great aftershave...

      1. re: JMF

        Well, if it doesn't taste good, there's always that. :)

    2. So, only a week into this experiment and this is one of the most wonderful infusions I've made. This includes several award winning products I've put on the market. I'm going to have to start a large batch, maybe five gallon, and see where it goes.

      1. I've never seen a tincture not made with the greens/herbs dried. I tried making a fresh mint tincture once before and discovered why. I'll be interested to know how this affects the flavor. Is Rucolino made with it fresh too?

        1 Reply
        1. re: LittleTeapott

          Yes, fresh, as far as I can find.

          When using fresh herbs sometimes blanching them is the way to go.

          I have several hundred tinctures, most with dried botanicals, but many with fresh.

        2. Now that's it the holidays can we get an update! I would love to try this if it turns out anything like Rucolino.