Orange Bloody Orange

All apologise to U2 but I couldn’t resist the pun!

This was a really fun flavor for me to make because I LOVE blood oranges. But Washington state is not known for their citrus growing regions (because we don’t really have one). So I thought citrus fruits would forever be relegated to an accent flavor, like in our Raspberry Lime that comes out in the summer. Delicious accent flavors sure, but never the star.

Then the amazing people at Letterpress Distilling decided to make a blood orange liqueur, which meant they had all these partially zested oranges laying around destined for compost.

Clearly I had to save some of them.

And I’m so glad I did! This shrub is deeply orange, with notes from the flesh and the thin layer of aromatic zest left on them. The oranges were rich and juicy and bittersweet the way a good blood orange should be. And look at this color!

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It’s begging to spike your gin and tonic, or to take your margaritas to another level. Personally I’ve been replacing the lemon juice and grenadine in a classic Scofflaw with a healthy measure of this shrub. You can now buy it online and start experimenting.

Partnering with Letterpress has let us keep to our sustainability goals while opening up flavors that were outside our previous reach. I’m so excited to see what the next Distiller Partnership flavor is (hint, it’s likely to be lemon)!

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Champagne cocktails

I get asked often about making a shrub cocktail with champagne. And with Valentine’s day this weekend I thought it woukd be a good idea to talk about how to combine these two delicious items.

To start, it’s not advisable to just add a splash of shrub to a flute full of bubbly. The acidity of the shrub and the particles of fruit combine with the carbonation in a sort of 4th grade science experiment effect.

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Shrub + champagne = mess and you don't event get cute dinosaurs

So, how do you combine the two? The trick is to treat the shrub like it’s the lemon juice and simple syrup in a French 75. If you’ve never had a French 75 before I recommend that you try one. A simple blend of lemon juice, gin, and champagne sweetened with a touch of simple syrup to create a delicious fizzy concoction. Try the following:

1 ounce Gin
1/2 ounce lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/4-1/2 ounce simple syrup, depending on how sweet you like things
Champagne or Cava

In a shaker with ice, combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake 15 or so seconds and strain into a chilled flute. Top with bubbly and a lemon twist.

Now, how do you modify this for use with shrubs? To start let’s look at the way the sweet/sour/strong ingredients relate to one another. There’s close to a 1 to one ratio of strong (the gin) to sweet/sour (the lemon juice and simple syrup). And the total of the three is around 2 ounces before shaking. So, if we’re replacing the lemon/simple blend with shrub we’ll need about 3/4 – 1 ounce.

The classic calls for London Dry Gin, and I do love gin. Feel free to use it here as well. But say you don’t like gin. Then what can you use? Other options include: whiskey, tequila, brandy, rum, or vodka.

The Blueberry Cinnamon shrub is lovely with rye, bourbon and rum. Or try the Spiced Plum shrub with brandy. Maybe tequila and the Apricot Cardamom shrub suites you.

But since it is nearly Valentine’s day, I recommend this…

Heart Shaped Box

1 ounce gin, something a bit softer like Seattle Distilling or Hendricks
1 ounce Vanilla Pear shrub
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Champagne or Cava

In a shaker with ice combine the shrub, gin and bitters. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled flute and top with the bubbly of your choice.