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 Ginger Bite, plus some chilled seltzer, I created my own variation on this theme. Ahhh! Truly more refreshing than water, and a lot more interesting.
Our own Brussels sprouts won’t be ready to pick for at least another month, so while we’re waiting we decided to indulge in a special treat that’s showing up in produce departments at supermarkets and local farm stores. Shaved Brussels sprouts are tidy packages of thinly sliced buds which save you plenty of prep time. They cook quickly in a cast-iron skillet. Pan-searing gives them a slightly roasted sweetness plus the speed of a stir-fry. Continue reading Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shrub
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.
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.
[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]
Yesterday was so blissfully cool and clear that I totally forgot about crafting a beverage for Mocktail Monday. But last night even in the depths of sleep, I could feel the mugginess creeping back into the house. So here — a day late — is the official offering for this week’s alcohol-free sip.
Although richly flavored, this mocktail has a cool finish thanks to the addition of juniper berry and mint. These herbs give it an herbaceous frostiness which makes it ideal when you want something to take your mind off the underbelly of summer.
Picture this as something to serve at bedtime, when the mucky air is unbearable even if the A/C is blasting. Place some clear glass cups or goblets in the freezer to get frosty, then take a shower to hose off. Wrap a chunky towel around your torso, and pour the chilled cooler sans ice just before you retreat to the boudoir to read (or whatever). Ahhhh.
This week’s recipe features Spiker’s Raspberry Bergamot shrub. The 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 (described below) was adapted from Sebastian Beckwith’s inspirational web site and description of tea traditions. We’ll be presenting more recipes with infused tea bases as time goes by, so we highly recommend that you visit his site to become better informed about how to select and brew fine teas.
INSTRUCTIONS (Begin 30 minutes before serving)
2 tablespoons Sencha green tea leaves (you may also use gyokuro or Chinese green tea)
4 to 6 ice cubes
2 tablespoons Spiker’s Raspberry Bergamot Shrub
2 springs fresh mint
Perrier mineral water with lime (or your favorite sparkling water)
Blackberries and/or mint leaves to garnish
Prepare the Sencha Tea Infusion: In a 4 to 8 ounce glass or ceramic container, place the tea leaves and ice cubes. Pour a few tablespoons of cold, filtered water over the ice and allow the tea to infuse for at least 20 minutes.
Strain the infused liquid — you should have approximately 1/8 to 1/4 cup — and keep the remaining ice and tea leaves in the container. While you are making your cocktail, you can allow the ice to melt and create a second infusion to use in a mocktail for another day. Or freeze and save for future beverages.
Prepare the Mocktail: In a tall glass, place the mint leaves and Spiker’s Raspberry Bergamot (or try our Berry Amour shrub, a blend of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries with a touch of bitter Seville orange). Muddle the mint leaves until well bruised. Add the first tea infusion and fill the glass halfway with ice. Gently add the Perrier and a splash of Grapefruit bitters (optional), stir to incorporate the ingredients, and taste. Add extra shrub to adjust the sweetness level to suit your taste. Garnish with a few blackberries or mint leaves and serve.