Raw Shrubs

When you offer to pour a shrub, clearly you’re not referring to the leafy bush. But what is a shrub? Get shrub and cocktail recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Offering to pour someone a shrub usually requires an explanation. Clearly the noun is not referring to the leafy bush. But just what is a shrub? Why would you want to drink one?

The answer to the first question has a surprisingly long history. Mixologist Warren Bobrow calls drinking shrubs “the original energy drinks” and dates them back to the 1800s. The combination of vinegar, water, and sweetener gave farmworkers a refreshing boost while in the field. Then farmers discovered they could expand the range of flavors using their harvest and the preserving properties of vinegar and sugar. Add carbonated water, and the first soft drinks were born. But these aren’t our contemporary, corn syrupy sodas: shrubs, aka drinking vinegars, capture the bright flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season.

Raw shrubs take little time to prepare but need a bit of foresight. The wait for cold processing means you don’t need to heat the shrub and lose some of its flavorful pop, a particular advantage with delicately flavored fruits like citrus and kiwi. They usually need 1–3 days to get to their final form but often taste best when left for at least a week. But shrubs last a long time too—I’m told up to a year, but I’ve never been able to keep one around that long.

This shrub recipe is a concentrate; you’ll want to dilute it to enjoy it. The simplest method is to pour 1/2 ounce of shrub into an 8-ounce or larger glass, top it with sparkling water or seltzer, and then add more shrub until you get a balance you like. Or upgrade your bar by using the shrub as the base for a cocktail.
Learn to make Raw-Fruit Shrub and Basic Shrub Cocktail

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Mint

It’s Twice as Tasty’s birthday month, and what better way to celebrate than with cocktails? Get simple syrup and mojito recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I tend to be on seasonal quests for unbeatable mixed drinks, looking for, say, the bar that makes its own tonic for G&Ts or the bartender who concocts the perfect old-fashioned. Several years ago, it was mojitos, and a local bartender mixed my hands-down favorite: heavy on the mint, light on the sweet, with the perfect touch of lime. Mint grows like a weed in my garden, but my homemade mojitos didn’t show it. So I had to ask: What was her secret? She gave a simple answer: simple syrup.

I didn’t know it, but I’d been making simple syrup for years—to feed hummingbirds. The first time I dropped some mint leaves into the batch, I found a new kitchen staple. Simple syrups are as easy as they sound, and they can sweeten everything from beverages, with or without alcohol, to desserts. And since it’s Twice as Tasty’s birthday month, and what better way to celebrate than with cocktails?
Learn to make Mint Simple Syrup and Mega-Mint Mojitos

Herb Marinades

Some of my favorite food memories linger from travels, with dishes I repeat at home. Get Moroccan recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Some of my favorite travel memories linger from my time in Morocco. I had the good fortune to have Peace Corps connections that introduced me to volunteers in both tiny towns and large cities. I stayed in their houses, visited their host families and haunts, and ate dinner in the homes of their Moroccan friends. I could never repeat or improve on the experience.

But the food: some of that I can and do repeat, even though it’s never quite the same. For example, every time I ate chermoula in Morocco, the flavor was unique. The basic version is essentially a pesto featuring cilantro and parsley, but my favorite versions included a little fresh ginger and extra spices, and I replicate it as well as I can. I mostly ate it in a tagine while in Morocco, but I’ve since learn to love it as a grilling marinade, accompanied, of course, by couscous.
Learn to make Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula and Cinnamon Couscous

Hot Cereals

I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. Then I went to Russia. Get hot cereal recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. I blame my dad: To this day, he calls his porridge “mush.” (If you want to get little girls excited about eating hot breakfast cereal, I highly suggest a different name.) Beyond the name, I disliked the taste and texture—or rather, the lack of both. Dad’s porridge was always bland oats or wheat, ground finely enough or cooked long enough that “mush” was an appropriate title.

It wasn’t until I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, that hot breakfast cereals became comfort food. Part of it was stepping off the train in early January into –23°F—weather that will make anyone eat anything hot. But mostly it was because Russians know how to make simple porridge taste good. It starts with a mix of grains, improving both flavor and texture. Adding butter to the saucepan before the grains lets them toast slightly. I then take the un-Russian step of adding spices.
Learn to make Russian Kasha and Pearl Barley Cereal with Honeyed Nuts