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Make a Merry Margarita

‘Tis the season to start thinking about holiday entertaining. Our new recipe for a Merry Margarita features fabulous seasonal flavors – tangerine, ginger, pomegranate – in a gorgeous and festive cocktail. We’re handing out the recipe this Sunday, November 22, at the North Shore Emporium. Tickets are free to this celebration of the best locally crafted food, but if you reserve online you will not have to wait at the gate. Continue reading Make a Merry Margarita

Moscow Mule Mocktail

It’s Mocktail Monday, and we’re on an alliteration kick. Mmm….Moscow Mule fits the bill. This vodka-based cocktail is making a resurgence, and we have found that it can easily be tweaked into a fabulous alcohol-free drink. Continue reading Moscow Mule Mocktail

Shrubby Margaritas: Sinful, Saintly, and In-Between

To celebrate National Margarita Day (Sunday, February 22), we’re sharing a trio of recipes featuring the fruity-tart pop of our Crangerine or Pineapple Basil Shrub. (You can substitute any of our shrub flavors for variations.) In all three cases, we are sticking to the classic and classy margarita. No day-glow colors, slush, or chemical-laden mixers allowed. Just natural ingredients in the right proportions.

On the sinful side, anyone with a taste for tequila can choose Recipe #1. If you avoid alcohol altogether but still want something festive to enjoy with chips and guacamole, Recipe #3 should fit the bill. And if you fall somewhere in between — say you’ve already had a few full-strength ‘Ritas and you want to lighten up, or you just want to cut back on the calories and booze from the git-go — Recipe #2 is for you.

Recipe #1: Sinful Shrub Margarita

This recipe has the highest alcohol content, hence earning the “sinful” badge. But it is also sinfully delicious: a wonderful balance of sweet, tart, smoky and fruity. We’re partial to on-the-rocks treatments, and also to a delicate dusting – not a crust – of natural sea salt on the rim of the glass.

Ingredients:

  • Medium-grind sea salt (Atlantic Saltworks, Marblehead Salt Co.) – optional
  • 2 ounces Tequila
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec (Cointreau preferred)
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (save the lime wedge if you want to rim your glass with salt
  • 0.5 ounce Spiker’s Shrub (we recommend Crangerine or Pineapple Basil for the most classic flavor profile, but have fun experimenting with our other flavors as well)
  • Ice (2-3 cubes per drink)

Instructions:

  1. If desired, rub the rim of a chilled glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass lightly in natural sea salt. Wait 5 minutes or so to give the salt a chance to properly adhere to the rim.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a shaker and give 35-50 vigorous shakes. Pour gently into the glass.

Recipe #2: Slightly Sinful Shrub Margarita (or perhaps Slightly Saintly?)

You can trim the alcohol content of your margarita somewhat by eliminating the Triple Sec/Cointreau, and increasing the amount of Spiker’s Shrub from 0.5 ounce to 1.5 ounces. Simple!

Recipe #3: Saintly Shrub Margarita

As with all mocktails, the big challenge lies in giving the drink a sophisticated layer of flavors. We don’t believe in calling something a “mocktail” when it’s really nothing more than a glorified punch loaded with sugary juices.

So in this case, our goal was to find a way to emulate some of the flavor notes of tequila: floral, smoky, spicy. For this, we turned to the exotic Lapsang Souchong tea. Look for the best quality you can find. Lapsang Souchong has flavor notes evocative of pine smoke, whiskey, and lychees. For a tad of pleasing back-of-the-throat warmth, a tiny pinch of cinnamon adds a perfect accent.

Finally, don’t forget the bitters! Although most bitters do contain somewhere around 40% alcohol by volume, the drop or two you’d use in a drink is so scant that it is classified as a non-alcoholic food ingredient. You’ll have to shop around to find good bitters. Many liquor stores put the bottles on the lowest shelf they can find — one notch lower and they’d be in the basement. We found our Hella Bitters on a top shelf at Shubie’s Market in Marblehead…right next to our shrubs. Classy!

Chocolate Raspberry Shrub Martini

Chocolate and raspberry are a marriage made in heaven. In this martini, a splash of Spiker’s Raspberry Bergamot Shrub balances the notes of a chocolate-infused vodka without being cloyingly sweet. Although we don’t ordinarily care for flavored spirits, we make an exception here because the vanilla notes of the vodka provide a richer overall taste. If desired, you can use a regular vodka instead.

 

Lillet Shrub Sparker

This festive cocktail marries gin, Lillet Blanc, and Prosecco to create an elegant cocktail with a blushing rosey glow. Color courtesy of a blend of Spiker’s Shrubs. We think our Crangerine is a perfect match for the Lillet Blanc, but our Pineapple Basil would be an excellent change-up.

Carrie Bradshaw, meet Terry Bradshaw

The Cosmopolitan (and variations thereof) has been around since the early 1900s, but the drink earned its star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame when Sex and the City ran on TV during the 1990s. It was Carrie Bradshaw’s drink.

I don’t know anything about Carrie Bradshaw. But I do know who Terry Bradshaw is. And I know that the Patriots are in a major football playoff game on Sunday, January 18. So as a tip of the hat to sports, mixology, and New England team spirit, we introduce the CosmoShrubitan … a lower-proof version of the original thanks to swapping Spiker’s Tuscan Tangerine Shrub for the traditional (and authentic) Cointreau. Instead of cranberry juice, a splash of Spiker’s Sour Cherry Plum Shrub does the trick.

If you’re hosting a playoff party, this cocktail can be doubled, tripled, etc. and made in advance. Chill in the fridge, put the glasses in the freezer, and enjoy. Then — in the words of Aaron Rodgers — relax.

 

Bourbon Cherry Cola

Feeling a bit nostalgic for the old days, even if you weren’t alive back then to enjoy them?

Our Bourbon Cherry Cola cocktail has a bit of mid-century magic to it. The rich amber of an aged bourbon, the russet hue of Spiker’s Sour Cherry Plum shrub, and the mahogany color of cola combine to make a gorgeous, fizzy beverage.

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Set up a Shrubbuffet for New Year’s Eve cocktails and mocktails

ChampagneShrubCocktail

Looking for a fun and festive addition to your New Year’s Eve menu? While everyone is waiting to ring in the new, you can treat your guests to the new and refreshing combination of Spiker’s Shrubs paired with the Champagne or Prosecco of your choice (or Perrier for a designated driver special). Just set up a bar with the bubbly on ice, and an array of Spiker’s Shrubs. Tie a ribbon around a few tablespoons (use one-half to one tablespoon per glass), and your Shrubbuffet is ready for sipping, sampling, and toasting.

For a true Bellini, choose Spiker’s Peach Rosemary Shrub. Or spin out onto new territory by trying Tuscan Tangerine. We use the entire fruit — peel and all — in our Tangerine Shrub, so the concentrate carries with it not only the delightful citrus taste of tangerine but also a sophisticated bitter nuance from the oils in the peel.

Pineapple Basil, Apple Crisp, Pear Cardamom, and Cranberry Orange Shrub are also great options. Each of these shrub flavors changes your Bellini profile, and gives your guests additional reasons to raise a glass.

[box size=”large”]Make merry with mocktails! Don’t forget the non-drinkers (including designated drivers) at your party. Include chilled bottles of Perrier (our preference) and ginger ale and plenty of festive glasses, and let them enjoy the shrubbuffet too![/box]

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Spiker’s Sour Cherry Manhattan

 

The classic Manhattan is making a comeback. To honor this revival of a truly American spirit, we suggest a pairing with Spiker’s unique Sour Cherry Plum Shrub.

Our deep and rich Sour Cherry Plum Shrub infusion —  made from tart red cherries and a hint of dark purple plums — provides the perfect balance to the aged fruitwood notes of a premium whiskey. It also provides flavor notes more akin to a true maraschino cherry, which is the traditional garnish. (By the way, if you aren’t using real, naturally-infused maraschino cherries, skip the day-glow variety and instead use a twist of lemon.)

For a change-up, make a Boston Manhattan: by replacing the bourbon with Irish whiskey such as Grand Ten Distilling’s South Boston Irish Whiskey.