Early Rhubarb

Was at the green market today and came accross the most beautiful early rhubarb. For this first batch, we offer it unadorned and simple. Just the delightful ruby stalks, cane sugar and white wine vinegar. The color is so rich and beautiful, it reminds me of spring blooming trees. I’ll have both 16 and 8 ounce bottles available for purchace at the U District farmers market on the 31st. Come say hello and taste some.

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Overcoming Challenges

Hello everyone.  I hope you had an amazing New Years, filled with friends, and laughter, and tasty shrub beverages.  Mine was wonderfully mellow, which I needed after all of the crazy running around I did in December.  Whew!  A show every weekend was delightfully intense and I’m glad it only happens once or twice a year.

The big news here is we are changing our labels!  Since the beginning, I’ve promised myself that I would roll with challenges and find ways to come out of them better for it.  Most of the time I don’t do all that well.  I have a vision, and I really want that vision to be the reality.  But sometimes you get told, in no uncertain terms, that what you want isn’t really possible.  Which is what happened with the labels.

But I’m so profoundly grateful that it did, because the new ones look so darned good!

The new labels, hangin out with my house guardian.  He's seen better days
The new labels, hangin out with my house guardian. He’s seen better days

A little Sugar Pill

So much going on as I prep for the Christmas in Seattle show (you are going to come say hello right?) that I almost forgot to share with you all the news!  We have opened an account with the most darling shop near by called Sugar Pill.  They specialize in finishing salts, amazing fancy chocolate, gourmet delicacies, bitters, and now shrubs!  And the proprietress is a trained herbalist with a huge apothecary.  We are so very excited to be part of this amazing place and hope you’ll stop in to say hello to the Sugar Pill team.

Sugar Pill is located at 900 E. Pine St. Seattle, WA 98122.  Check out their web site for hours, but most days they open at 11am and close between 5pm and 8pm.  Look for our shrubs on the shelves in the next few weeks.  Just in time for holiday gifting!

Cranberry crazy

So excited about my fruit purchases today. D’anjou pears for the Vanilla Pear shrub we’ll be premiering at the Christmas in Seattle show in a few weeks. And cranberries for the Spiced Cranberry shrub just look at these!

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Huge berries with so much color and flavor. We’re going to blend these with Cabernet Sauvignon wine vinegar and mulling spices. It’s going to taste like the best cranberry chutney. I can’t wait to see you at the show!

New show coming up

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Super excited to announce that The Shrubbery will be vending at the Christmas in Seattle show on November 14, 15, and 16. This show crams the convention center with all kinds of amazing vendors selling unique handmade goods and tasty gourmet food.

We will also be debuting our winter line. Pear Ginger, Vanilla  Pear, and a special limited edition Cranberry Spice. We’ll also have a 4 ounce stocking stuffer size, only available for the holidays. These are perfect for office Secret Santa gifts or as a way to try out many different flavors.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Getting to know you

Had an opportunity to hang out with my amazing friend Friday from Friday Afternoon Tea at the Northwest Tea Festival this weekend.  If you like really good tea, with nerdy themes (like Firefly characters and RPG classes and Battle Star Galactica) you should check out her stuff.  I also got a chance to get some of my shrubs into your hands, and it was AMAZING to meet everyone.

I think my favorite part of vending events is watching people’s reactions to tasting a shrub for the first time, and getting to nerd out with them about my process.  We talk about food and drinks, how to use my shrubs, and things we love about cooking.  And sometimes we come up with something truly special, as happened this weekend.

We paired some of Friday’s tea with my Peach Brown Sugar shrub and magic happened!  This is perfect for these early autumn days when the weather can’t decide if it wants to be warm and sunny or cold and drizzly.

Northwest Tea Punch
Makes about 1 gallon Punch

12 Cups Water, use filtered drinking water anytime you make tea
1/4 cup full bodies black tea, I love Friday’s Cylon’s for Breakfast
1-2 cups Peach Brown Sugar depending on how sweet and peachy you want your tea
Ice
Optional, a shot or two of bourbon per glass

  • Cut a square of cheesecloth and pile the tea in the center. Bring the corners up and together and tie with some kitchen twin to make a large tea bag.
  • Bring the water to the boil, add the tea bag, and turn the heat off. Let steep for 5 minutes or more, depending on how dark you like your tea.
  • Remove the tea bag and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
  • Mix in the shrub, tasting as you go, until you reach a balance you like.
  • Fill a glass with ice. If using the bourbon, add a generous shot, and pour it over the ice.
  • Add the tea punch. Garnish with an orange slice if you’re feeling fancy.
  • The rest of the tea will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, but I usually drink this much faster.

Peaches!

Woke up this morning and decided to wander to the Farmers Market and see if there were any more peaches or plums to be had. Nothing really exciting in the plum department,  but I found the most amazing end of season peaches.  Big, juicy, fragrant, and just perfect for my Peach Brown Sugar shrub.

Just look at the size of these!

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Martin Family Orchards amazing peaches

I think my favorite way to drink this shrub is with bourbon, a spicy liqueur like Snap (which tastes like a rich gingersnap cookie, but not sweet) and soda water.  Try this:

In an 8 ounce higball glass pour
1.5 ounces bourbon
.5 ounces spice liqueur
.5 ounces or a touch more Peach Brown Sugar shrub
Stir to mix well and add soda to bring the glass to 2/3 full
Give a gentle stir and add ice to fill the glass
Sip lazily on the porch while enjoying the start of fall weather

Blackberry Bramble, by Drew at Hazlewood

Long first day in the kitchen yesterday.  Blackberries arrived, one of my vinegar orders arrived, two batches of shrub were put up and all the cleaning up.  And when it was all over I had all these bottles full of deliciousness in rich wine red.

Next to the kitchen is a little bar called Hazelwood.  It’s exactly the kind of bar I would want my products in, and that I expect I’ll end up spending loads of time in.  Rich wood, friendly people, tasty and unique cocktails.  And as I had some time to spend before taking the new shrub to storage, I popped in for a quick tipple.

And what a yummy beverage we made.  I gave the bartender, Drew, a sample bottle of the newly made Blackberry Balsamic and invited him to go to town.  What he made was sweet, relaxed, friendly and so yummy.

To a shaker full of ice add:

1.5 ounces Bourbon

.5 ounce Elderflower liquor

.5 ounce Blackberry Balsamic shrub

Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Happy drinking!