There’s Quinoa in Your Cocktail: Foodie Underground


ColumnIs that quinoa in my cocktail?

Quinoa ranks right up there with kale. Throw it into a dish and you can immediately ensure it’s rise to foodie stardom. Blueberry porridge? Boring. Blueberry quinoa porridge? Yes, please. Ice cream sandwich? That sounds processed. Quinoa ice cream sandwich? Can I get one for me and everyone in my Thursday afternoon hot yoga session?

But while kale is easy to turn into a cocktail (puree and add booze), quinoa is less so. Until now, thanks to Fair Quinoa Vodka, a spirit that is distilled solely from the superfood. You could ask whether or not we need another vodka, but hey, it’s certified fair trade.

The vodka’s quinoa grains come from Bolivia and are distilled in France, which certainly doesn’t quite make for a farm-to-table cocktail, but just like with your coffee and chocolate, better to by from sources that you know are doing a bit of worldly good. The Bolivian quinoa farmers deserve respect for preserving the ancient grain after all; it wasn’t the juice-detoxing, Whole Foods shoppers that did the hard work after all.

It’s not the first time vodka is made from something different – it can be distilled with everything from grapes to corn – and an alternative to regular gluten grains used for vodka like wheat, barley and rye is appreciated by anyone trying to cut out the G word. Plus you can just see how excited bartenders are going to get when they can add a quinoa vodka martini to their menu. Make it dirty please.

But wait, it gets better. You can also get your hands on quinoa whiskey. Granted it’s a barley and quinoa blend, with only 20 percent of quinoa seeds, but it’s produced by a craft distillery that’s all about producing in small batches. You could be swayed to drink a whiskey old fashioned now couldn’t you?

Now let’s just wait for someone to start home distilling with the grain. Homebrewers already have the quinoa lager down. Quinoa Moonshine? Whole Foods would totally market that. Ideally with a sprig of rosemary and a cardamom twist.

Related on EcoSalon:

Can Quinoa Be Local?

10 DIY Cocktail Syrups

This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at

Image: Robert S. Donovan

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.