low-key, low-ABV frothy apple shrubbery

You know what doesn't help your immune system so much? 


The wife and I have been ill, so we're toasting from separate rooms with this tasty, frothy little shrub that has almost no booze in it. You can sub the cider for sparkling apple juice (lose or reduce the sugar), but I don't recommend dropping the bitters.

You'll note lemons in the pic — that was from an earlier and far less tasty iteration. I also dry-shook vs. whip-shook, so there's embarrassingly little froth. Definitely whip-shake.

Mulled Cider Shrub
2 oz Seedlip Spice 84
.75 oz high-quality apple cider vinegar
.25 oz mulling spice bitters (see below)
1 tbsp sugar
1 bar spoon milk powder
Caramelized apple slice (see below)
Dry hard cider to top, or sparkling apple juice for NA (exclude or reduce sugar)

Combine Seedlip, vinegar, bitters, sugar, and milk powder in a shaker, add a decent-sized ice cube, and shake the hell out of it. Strain into a chilled Collins glass over ice, top with cider, garnish with a caramelized apple slice, and serve.

Pro Tip: whip-shaking is when you shake with only one ice cube, or a few tiny pebbles of ice. I first tried dry-shaking it (no ice), but like your favorite protein powder shaker, you need something banging around in there to blend in the powder and avoid clumps. You'll also want to start shaking as soon as you add the powder — don't let it congeal.

Mulling Spice Bitters
1 tbsp mulling spices
High-proof everclear, vodka or bourbon 

Combine ingredients into a small (2-4 oz) glass container or bottle. Allow the liquor to infuse over the course of a few days, weeks or months (as long as you can stand it, really), shaking the container every day or so. 

Caramelized Apple Slices
1 apple

Set your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or grease with butter or oil. Using a mandolin, slice apples crosswise in thin slices. Line the baking sheet with the slices, sprinkle sugar over them generously, and bake until golden and sugar caramelizes. Ovens vary, so I don't really have a cook time suggestion for you — they're perfect for a very short window of time before they start burning, so keep an eye on them.