Dark and Stormy

When the weather turns dark and stormy, this drink is the ideal companion. Dark rum combined with a spritzy, high-octane ginger fizz and a splash of lime warms you up and quenches your thirst at the same time.

Although standard recipes call for ginger beer, it’s not always easy to find a brand with enough of a kick. That’s why Spiker’s Ginger Bite shrub is the perfect stand-in. You can add as much or little of it as you like to get just the right amount of ginger power without diluting the beverage overall.

Start with two ounces of dark rum, and vary the amount of “fizz” based on your personal tastes: anywhere from three to five ounces is a good target.

 

 

Sticky Peanuts with Ginger Bite, Sriracha, and Thai Basil

You know those bar nuts they put out when you order a beer or another pop? Forget them. They are about to become the swishy suburbanites you’ll visit occasionally, once you get acquainted with these street-wise peanuts spiked with Spiker’s Ginger Bite Shrub, Sriracha, and Thai basil.

Peanuts in their plain form are dull. But give them a chance: they soak up spices and marinades like a mop. Stew them for a few minutes with spices, aromatics, and something sweet, then spread on a Silpat or parchment paper and let them cool. The result is something sticky and crunchy and tangy and so good you will want to grind them up in your next PB&J. Even better, scatter them on your next Thai spring roll, or bibimbap, or any stir fry. And don’t forget to plop them on vanilla or green tea ice cream before you go to bed. The angels will turn down the sheets for you.

 

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Quick way to remove ribs from kale, collards, and other greens

The only things which used to discourage me from consuming a healthy quantity of greens was (a) lack of a good recipe, and (b) the tedious preparation involved in stripping out the thick ribs from the centers of the leaves. But one day while fumbling in the knife drawer for a cutting tool, my friendly pizza cutter shined up from the throng of blades and said, “Try me!”

And the rest is history. The pizza cutter was so efficient at stripping out the ribs that the prep was done in no time. All you have to do is fold a leaf vertically, trim off the base of the them, and then use the pizza cutter to closely shave away the rib. Voila! What remains is a beautiful leaf ready to be chopped, or steamed whole for use in stuffed and rolled recipes. And when cooked or served with a finishing splash of Spiker’s Shrubs (especially Roasted Cinnamon Apple, Ginger Bite, or Sour Cherry Plum), the bitterness of the greens is balanced with a wonderful undertone of sweet-tart flavor.

If your harvest is so abundant that you need to freeze the kale, chard, etc., save the ribs to use in veggie stock.

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Manhattan Ice Cream Soda with Sour Cherry Plum shrub

Looking for a fun and festive way to enjoy the flavors of the classic Manhattan cocktail? This grown-up ice cream soda is just the ticket. Less sweet than its Old Fashioned friend, the Manhattan enjoys a bit of herbaceous complexity thanks to the use of sweet vermouth (which isn’t as sugar as its name belies).

We have seen several Manhattan ice cream soda recipes online, but they include a dollop of spiked, sweetened whipped cream which is totally unnecessary. Just use a premium ice cream and premium ingredients — including the essential Spiker’s Sour Cherry Plum Shrub — and a foamy head will build at the top of the glass, letting the spirit of the spirit shine through. Cheers!

 

Georgian Adjika with Sour Cherry Plum Shrub

If you like the kick of a good salsa but your tastebuds are looking for a more complex flavor profile, we have a suggestion: consider Adjika, the classic condiment from Georgia-Azerbaijan. Also known as Adzhika and Ajika, Russians often refer to this as “Red Salt” and others sometimes call it “Russian Pesto.” But this savory, spicy dish isn’t anywhere close to the texture, fragrance, or mild-mannered flavor profile of pesto. Most of the recipes include hot and sweet red peppers along with a host of savory herbs including fenugreek, mint, savory, and cilantro along with coriander seed. Although we have seen a number of variations which toss shredded apples, carrots, and even tomatoes into the mix, in its purist form, it’s all about the peppers. Woohoo! Continue reading Georgian Adjika with Sour Cherry Plum Shrub

Asian-inspired Shrub Dipping Sauce No. 1

Although the use of vinegar in cooking is extensive throughout most Asian cultures, westerners tend to think of it only as something for pickles or salad dressing. In this recipe, we’re going to show how Spiker’s Shrubs can be used as a key ingredient in three different types of Asian-inspired dipping sauces, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to attempt some variations of your own.

For this recipe, we’ve created a twist on the classic Ponzu sauce. Ponzu is distinguished by its bright citrus notes, balanced by the salty umame earthiness of the soy. In place of the traditional orange juice, mirin, rice vinegar and sugar, we’re using Spiker’s Sour Cherry Plum Shrub. (You could also use any other flavor and get interesting and savory results. It’s especially great with a combination of a fruity base shrub, plus our Chile Lime Shrub for heat and a citrus punch.)

Use this dipping sauce for egg rolls, spring rolls, or dumplings. Or brush over shrimp, salmon, or chicken prior to broiling or pan-searing to create a gorgeous and fragrant glaze.

PS – For another interesting recipe which works with all sorts of Fusion cuisine, try our Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (a.k.a. Nuoc Cham).

Juniper Shrub and Tonic mocktail

If you love the herbaceous, piney flavor of a premium gin but want to avoid the alcohol, give this “virgin” version a try. Spiker’s Juniper Bay Shrub is made from many of the same ingredients used in gin — including grains of paradise, cubeb pepper, bay leaf, and citrus peel — so you will be able to enjoy the fragrance and taste of gin in each sip, with one important difference: No gin, no sin!

Be sure to use only premium tonic water in this recipe. Standard brands are too sweet and flavorless.

Sour Cherry Shrub Moppin’ Sauce for Smoked Pork

There are so many recipes for mopping sauce (or “mop” sauce) for ribs and smoked meats. Some are super-thin and tart, others are thicker and more clingy. This recipe splits the difference, with plenty of bite and enough cling to keep the meat moist during a slow, low smoking.

If you don’t have Sour Cherry Plum shrub on hand, try using Roasted Cinnamon Apple or even Ginger Bite. Or get creative and try equal parts Juniper Bay and Black Currant.

 

Warm Apple Shrub Vinaigrette

We love this recipe because it works on salads, chilled or room temperature vegetables and/or grains (farro, barley, etc), and even roasted vegetables (try it on sweet potatoes!).

Our favorite way to use this dressing is with mixed greens, diced tart apples, thinly sliced raw fennel, crumbled chevre, and toasted pecans.