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Father’s Day: Shrubs and Bacon

Every year, you see websites pushing alcohol for Dads. Sure, my father liked his Scotch. But to push Harvey’s culinary hot button,  I knew he wanted more than a glass of Jack Daniels. He wanted cheese, bacon, and nuts.

Clearly, the folks at  Pamplemousse in Reading, MA are on the same wavelength, because on June 13 they’re hosting the ultimate pre-Father’s Day bash: Booze, Blues, Brews, and Bacon. 

We’ll be there to join in the fun. Find out how Spiker’s Shrubs can turn bacon into a thing of wonder at the breakfast table. (They can also make a mean cocktail, cheese drizzle, and more.)

If you can’t find something at this event, it’s time for a Hallmark card and one of those “I’ll clean the garage” lists. Dad might sigh and smile, but his inner baconator will be very disappointed.

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Coming soon to quench your thirst…

When summer heat and humidity start bearing down, we don’t turn to lemonade to quench our thirst. We want something bracing and refreshing. That’s why Spiker’s is rolling out a brand new shrub in time for Father’s Day, the Solstice, and any day hotter than 80 degrees F.

Introducing Spiker’s Pink Grapefruit Shrub, crafted from thinly sliced Ruby Red Grapefruit. We include some of the peel during the aging process to add the same welcome spritz and subtle bitter bite which our customers loved in Tuscan Tangerine shrub. Sadly, tangerines are no longer in season. But Grapefruit Shrub is more than a substitute; it’s a star in its own right.

Try it straight over ice and seltzer. Swirl it into iced green tea. Drizzle it over a salad with avocado and Wolf Meadow Farm’s Caciocavallo cheese. Visit Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, Maine to taste the latest mocktails crafted by Steve and Joanna Corman. And by all means, include it in your next mojito, margarita, or Pisco cocktail.

Look for Spiker’s Grapefruit Shrub starting June 19.

PS – If you can’t find Spiker’s Shrubs at a location near  you, please ask for us at your local specialty foods retailer, or drop us a note here to suggest the names of stores near you. We’re eager to grow our distribution network, and your feedback would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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Coming home to Cider Hill

When we launched our business in 2014, Cider Hill Farm was the first business we approached. They’re just down the street from us, but their location isn’t what motivated us. Cider Hill Farm is a leader in sustainable farming and community retailing. You will always find something fresh, new, and local on their shelves. And we will always want to be part of their mission.

Today — almost one year after we launched Spiker’s Shrubs and Cider Hill said “yes!” — we delivered a new crop of our 2015 shrubs.

We hope you’ll visit Cider Hill Farm soon and ask for Spiker’s Shrubs. But also be sure to explore their ever-expanding collection of small-batch specialty foods: honey, jerky, cheese, and more. Cider Hill Farm is a great destination no matter what you are shopping for.

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Food and Wine Fest at Shubie’s in Marblehead

We’re b-a-a-c-c-k-k-k! After the long, killer winter we’re thrilled to be sharing the floor at Shubie’s annual Food and Wine Fest with a select group of specialty purveyors. Stop by today from 1-5pm, and be sure to say hello to our first-of-the-season Strawberry Rhubarb shrub. New bottle size — a hefty 12 ounces — and a beautiful, fresh blend of two of New England’s favorite flavors.

PS – Be sure to say hello to our friends from Atlantic Saltworks, too!

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Strawberry Rhubarb is back in season

Coming to Cider Hill Farm and Vena’s Fizz House this weekend: the newest, freshest Spiker’s Shrubs release…first-season Strawberry Rhubarb. Who needs a pie when you can sip this awesome New England classic flavor combo in our new upsized bottle?!? (Even if you aren’t into rhubarb, think twice. In a sippable form, it’s so luxurious!)

Great alone in seltzer as a mocktail. Or try it in sangria, margaritas, and other favorite cocktails. It makes an incredible salad dressing splash, too. We love it on roasted sweet potatoes with a kiss of butter.

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Shirley Temple gets a mocktail make-over

In honor of this Sunday’s Love, Shirley Temple exhibit at the historic Wenham Museum, Spiker’s has teamed up with Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, ME, to craft an uptown version of the classic Shirley Temple mocktail.

The traditional recipe which combines generic grenadine with ginger ale is a snore, and we wanted to serve up a twist that’s refreshing and complex. Innocent, but also saucy/sassy. Kind of like little Shirley herself.

Here are our change-ups:

For starters, ditch the dreadful Red Dye #2 phony maraschino cherry and replace with Spiker’s Sour Cherry Plum shrub. It contributes the natural flavor of authentic tart red cherry pies and turnovers. And because it isn’t super-sweet, it balances out the drink just as you’d hope.

Next, seek out the best grenadine you can find. Liber & Co. makes a top-shelf version worth investing in.

In place of ginger ale, use Spiker’s Ginger Bite shrub plus mineral water or seltzer.

And finally, a few dashes of Jamaican Ginger bitters, Smoky Habanero Pepper Extract Bitters, and ghost pepper extract add the magic touch to bring depth and intrigue to your mocktail. “It’s all in the bitters,” Corman advises. He uses a similar combination for his Dark and Stormies, which people say are the best they’ve ever tasted.

Serve your Shirley Temple in a tall glass with ice and enjoy. And then, as America’s Little Darling might have said after a sip, feel free to say, “Oh – my – goodness!”

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We’re bubbling with pride at being added to Vena’s Fizz House

The destination city of Portland, Maine has a special attraction worthy of a visit by lovers of mocktails, cocktails, bar paraphernalia, and a funky old-time vibe you won’t find too many other places. Vena’s Fizz House – a combination old-time soda, cocktail/mocktail bar and retail boutique — is one of only a few such establishments in the country, worthy of receiving Alton Brown’s nod as one of the top eight shopping finds in the country. (“…I’ve never seen anything like Vena’s before…”)

Spiker’s is proud to announce that Vena’s is now serving Spiker’s Shrubs as part of their artisan crafted mocktail and cocktail menu.  You’ll also find our bottles and mini-samplers on the shelves of their adjacent retail boutique, along with vintage-era glassware, more bitters than you ever knew existed, and all sorts of other exotic additives which escalate any drinks (with or without spirits) to something spirited indeed.

Time for a road trip! Hop in the car and head up north to a beautiful city and to Vena’s Fizz House, an unbeatable, memorable source of creative refreshment and great hospitality.

PS – Tune in to Chronicle/Boston in the next week or so to catch a feature of Vena’s, up close and personal.


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Follow Spiker’s as we test veggies for shrubification

The FDA doesn’t have “shrubs” in its lexicon. We had to fight to get recognition as a legitimate food and beverage product. And now, we’re pushing the envelope some more.

We’ve been seeing articles and posts about celery shrubs, carrot shrubs, mint shrubs … you get the picture. But just because you throw some sugar and vinegar in with an organic ingredient doesn’t necessarily make it a shrub. Might be a syrup, but it probably isn’t a shrub.

Our marching orders from the FDA and other governing bodies are clear: To be shelf-stable, and to pass the muster when it comes to the very special “cold process” which preserves the color, clarity, and flavor of shrubs, we have to meet some scientific benchmarks. We already met the first mark. And now we’re looking at veggies. Do they have what it takes to create a shelf-stable product which shoppers can buy with confidence? We’ll let you know in four weeks. That’s when our first flight of test-ables will be ready for our pH meter. Stay tuned!

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Shrubs and Spirits Tasting in Georgetown

ryan-and-wood-sillEver wonder how Spiker’s Shrubs pairs with fine artisan spirits? Here’s your chance to find out. We’ll be partnering with Ryan & Wood Distillery to present a cocktail workshop at the Stone Pantry in Georgetown. Ryan & Wood crafts top-shelf vodka, rum, gin, and American rye whiskey at their Gloucester distillery, and we are huddling with their team to pair our spirits with their products and share our recipes with you.

IN THIS WORKSHOP: You’ll get a chance to taste Ryan & Wood’s top-shelf products, learn how to savor the various flavor notes in vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey, and learn how this family-owned business crafts these spirits using traditional and new methods. Next, you’ll get a chance to sample all of the flavors in the Spiker’s shrub line, get some tips for mixing mocktails and cocktails, and then vote on which spirit you’d like to sample mixed together in a Ryan&Wood/Spiker’s original cocktail.

At the end of the program, you’ll receive a handout featuring recipes for drinks discussed in the workshop, as well as a few other tasty spirited treats.

Sign up asap by contacting The Stone Pantry. Space is limited! (Note: You must be 21 years or older to sample the spirits.)



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Pioneer Woman, you’ve met your match

FarmetteBlogAs part of today’s ongoing St. Patrick’s Day observance, I’m kicking off the first of three blog posts by tipping my hat to a blog I just came across this morning. At last, a food writer whose taste isn’t all in her mouth!

Imen McDonnell’s website Farmette is beautiful in a visually sparse and restful way. Several years ago, the former US-born television, film, and advertising producer jumped the pond after meeting and marrying her Irish husband. She writes about homey things related to Irish farm life, but unlike a certain American blogger-turned-farmgirl whose name shall not be mentioned, her recipes don’t include a block of cream cheese and stick of butter in every dish. True, Imen is not feeding cowboys. But I have a feeling those range-riders at the Pioneer Woman ranch would benefit from more fiber in their diet (and not the kind used in Blazing Saddles).

Check it out …