Carrot Slaw with Sweet-Tart Shrub Dressing

No fancy chef skills required here. Just grate or shred fresh carrots, then toss with a dressing featuring the delightful tang of our Ginger Bite Shrub paired with olive oil, cider vinegar, celery seeds, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. At serving time, add a generous sprinkle of chopped sunflower and sesame seeds to provide a delightful crunch.

NOTE: This slaw tastes even better the day after. Don’t limit it to a side dish, either. Slap this onto a bun with some pulled pork barbecue and you will be in heaven.

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.

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 our first 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 Pineapple Basil Shrub. (You could also use any other flavor and get interesting and savory results.)

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 – More sauce recipes coming soon, along with suggestions for what to serve them with.

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.

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.

Mocktail Monday: Boomtown Rat-a-tat

We just heard from representatives of the Monday Anti-Defamation  (MAD) League; they’re upset that we’re giving the first day of the work week a bad rat — er, rap — by promoting the consumption of mocktails.

Hey, it’s not our fault that Monday is looked upon with dread. Or that it’s the day of the week you can’t have any fun.

Fact is, you can have plenty of fun on Mocktail Monday. Especially when you have a mocktail made with Spiker’s Shrubs. Without the fuzzy head, you can probably drive farther (and safer), stay awake longer (visit friends, watch a movie, fold your laundry). Plus, you can transfer the unspent alcohol calories on something like a take-out rotisserie chicken, or a veggie pizza (feel good about the veggies, feel bad about the cheese). Or chocolate truffles. Yum.

So hop on the wagon (or off the wagon, or whatever) and embrace Mocktail Monday with this week’s recipe. We’re tipping our hat to the Boomtown Rats for creating a song that has immortalized Mondays (although they were singing about the school week rather than work; somewhere out there in space, we’re still in 11th grade).

Whiskey-IPA Cocktail with Apple Shrub

To celebrate a recent showcase at the Aeronaut Brewing Company, Spiker’s crafted this cocktail recipe with plenty of lift. It features our Roasted Cinnamon Apple Shrub and Aeronaut’s Northfield Red IPA.

This recipe shows how beer can be used not only for quaffing, but also as an element paired with spirits and other aromatic flavor elements — including our shrubs!

We drew our inspiration from the 2011 Imbibe Cover Cocktail Contest winning recipe, but because Pineau is sometimes hard to find we tested it with Lillet Blanc as well. Don’t be put off at the thought of infusing either aperitif with Earl Grey. It adds a lovely touch. Although you’ll have about ten ounces left over, we’re sure you’ll have an easy time incorporating it into other beverages. Definitely worth the effort.

For the shrub of choice in this cocktail, we recommend Spiker’s Roasted Cinnamon Apple Shrub. Made from early season apples with plenty of snap, it balances beautifully with the lemony notes of the IPA.

Mocktail Monday: The Wood Stacker

This year, our firewood delivery took place during an unseasonably warm stretch of weather here in Massachusetts. Understandably, we worked up quite a thirst while moving the logs from their dumping spot to the racks behind our shed.

Initially, I made several trips to the house to refill my water bottle. But plain H2O just wasn’t cutting it. And then I remembered how pioneers often would drink a vinegar-honey-ginger beverage called  “switchel” — also known as “Haymaker’s Punch” — to provide hydration during their long stints in the field. Using some of our newly-bottled Roasted Cinnamon Apple Shrub and some chilled seltzer, I created my own variation on this theme. Ahhh! Truly more refreshing than water, and a lot more interesting.