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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.

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Berry Sencha Spritzer

Raspberry Bergamot shrub — a rich, plum-red infusion delicately scented with Italian bergamot oil — creates a heavenly spritzer when blended with Japanese Sencha green tea. The unique method of cold infusing green tea (described below) was adapted from Sebastian Beckwith’s inspirational web site and description of tea traditions. (Of course, if you want to bypass the ritual and just brew 8 ounces of double-strength green tea the regular way, this will work too.)

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Mocktail Monday: Apple-Cucumber Cooler

August is steaming up, and my plan for keeping cool is to put a bunch of glasses in the freezer to get frosty, and then whip up a pitcher of white tea infused with rosemary, brightened with a splash of Spiker’s Roasted Cinnamon Apple shrub, chilled cucumber juice, sliced peaches, and a bit of mineral water.

You don’t need a juicer to prepare the cucumber; a blender or food processor works just as well. (For those of you who want to spike this beverage with a spirit, try a bit of gin.)




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Mocktail Monday: Berry Fruity Mock Sangria

The appeal of sangria lies in large part to all the fruity photos which show a goblet or wine glass chock full of berries, orange slices, etc. But real sangria isn’t served like that. The fruit stays in the pitcher, and the drink goes in the glass.

The other thing sangria has going for it is that ruby-rich color. (The name sangria is derived from the Spanish word for blood.) Continue reading Mocktail Monday: Berry Fruity Mock Sangria

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Mocktail Monday: Spicy Mary

I’m one of the only people I know who adores a good Bloody Mary. By good, I don’t mean a can of tomato juice spiked with vodka. The best Mary drinks start with freshly pressed juice bursting with garden-fresh flavor. When blended with the proper spices, I almost don’t care if the booze is missing…which is what led me to develop this recipe for a light, alcohol-free take on a traditional Bloody Mary. Continue reading Mocktail Monday: Spicy Mary

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Mocktail Monday: Raspberry Shrub Collins

When I was a child, one of my favorite treats to sneak from the fridge was my parents’ Tom Collins mixer. Even back then I had a thing for sweet/tart flavors, and the bottled Collins mix – with its tart fizzy taste and citrus notes – packed a lot more pleasure than a glass of cola or even ginger ale. To bring back these great taste memories, we concocted a mocktail recipe with the same sweet/tart/citrus profile of a traditional Tom Collins, but without the gin. Continue reading Mocktail Monday: Raspberry Shrub Collins

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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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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.


  • 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)


  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!