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!

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Shrub love at Shubie’s Love Fest on Feb. 7

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 4.55.21 PMThere isn’t anything at Shubie’s you couldn’t love. But on February 7, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Spiker’s will join in the Shubie’s Love Fest to inspire customers with ideas for February 14 celebrations. After an afternoon of sipping and sampling, you’ll find even more ways to love this trend-setting Marblehead foodie destination.

Stop by to taste our flavorful, all-natural fruit infusions for mixing with cocktails and mocktails, and pick up our new sampler pack featuring four of our most popular flavors. We’ll share tips for how to mix romantic cocktails, elegant mocktails, and delicious salads, sauces, and desserts (including our Sour Cherry Black Velvet Dump Cake) using Spiker’s Shrubs.

Just a few ideas for how to use Spiker’s Shrubs in dishes you’ll love:

  • Splash in champagne or prosecco for a fruity, colorful, fizzy sip.
  • Whip up a chocolate martini with a touch of our new Very Strawberry shrub.
  • Drizzle over a plate of artisan cheese (and boy, does Shubie’s know a thing or two about cheese!).
  • Make a batch of shrub-glazed nuts for a salad or roasted sweet potato.
  • Finish off a pan of filet mignon for two with a pan sauce of shrub, shallots, and red wine.
  • Enjoy a light, alcohol-free spritzer at the end of the evening and get your second wind.

Get details and directions to Shubie’s here.

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

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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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Clifden Pony Irish Whiskey Cocktail

Green beer on St. Patrick’s Day? Bah! It’s an insult to the Irish, the island, and the history of the Emerald Isles. Instead, we offer up to you a beautiful Spiker’s custom-crafted cocktail that is smooth and sophisticated, meant to be sipped, not quaffed.

You can use any Irish whiskey in this drink, but we suggest a cask-strength variety because its strength will mellow as the ice in your glass melts. Although we have tested all of our shrubs with Irish whiskey, we’re especially smitten with the performance of  our Ginger Bite shrub. It features a refreshing kick, plus a pleasing acidic twang. Together with the whiskey and vermouth, it creates an inspiring and complex sipping experience.