Quinoa is a remarkable grain for many reasons. Technically not a cereal grain, it is rather a “pseudo-cereal,” which means it is eaten like a grain, but isn’t truly one.

In fact, quinoa is related to beets and spinach. Historically sacred to the Incas, there are over 120 varieties of quinoa. Although it was cultivated in Bolivia thousands of years ago, it was forgotten until the 1970s when health food nuts discovered its health benefits. Indeed, quinoa is a complete gluten free protein, despite being a plant.

Quinoa Grains

Quinoa Grains

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Health benefits aside, quinoa can add intriguing elements to a cocktail, hence the reason Milliam Palma of The Melrose D.C. uses it in juiced form. Here’s what he had to say about mixing with this awesome ingredient.

Milliam Palma, mixologist at Melrose D.C.

Milliam Palma

Photo Credit Jai Williams

What is your ingredient of the moment?

I have been experimenting with a number of unique ingredients recently. One of my favorites has been quinoa juice.

What is the flavor profile?

Quinoa juice adds an unexpected nuttiness to a drink. It has a smooth, mild finish.

How is it best used?

I think it is best used with other ultra-fresh ingredients to complement the soft flavor of the quinoa. You want the end result to be a light and refreshing cocktail.

What spirits and mixers does it work best with?

I find quinoa juice mixes beautifully with citrus like orange and lemon. I use La Diablada Pisco because of the rich yet sweet flavors of the alcohol. Together, you have an unexpected refined beverage.

What are some tips for using it?

Use quinoa juice while it is fresh and flavorful and mix it with fresh citrus for a twish on a traditional cocktail. Guests will want to try it because it is a great alternative to sweet, sugary cocktails.

What cocktails are you using it in right now?

Guests can try the Quinoa Pisco Sour from our savory cocktail menu. It features La Diablada Pisco, quinoa juice, lemon juice, egg whites and is garnished with orange bitters and a rosemary sprig.

Quinoa Pisco Sour

Quinoa Pisco Sour

Photo Credit Milliam Palma

Quinoa Pisco Sour

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. La Diablada Pisco
  • 1 oz. Quinoa Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Egg White

Preparation: Combine ingredients in a small wine glass. Garnish with orange bitters and rosemary sprig.