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Mulled Cider Shrub

[Photograph: Anna Markow]

The great thing about this particular shrub is that it's ready to consume immediately, as a lot of the vinegar's intensity is cooked out. It's a lot more mild and sweet than most shrubs, and doesn't require anything but a splash of soda or a shot of your choice of booze to make a tasty beverage.

For a nonalcoholic treat, fill a 12-ounce glass with ice, add 3 ounces shrub, fill with seltzer, stir gently. If you want to spike it, aged rum, bourbon, and even cognac (Hennessy and cider shrub tastes like apple pie) make excellent accompaniments. Add a little black walnut or whiskey barrel-aged bitters to balance the sweetness, if you like. Or, if you have a big enough pot and any sort of holiday party going on as soon as that same evening, a quadruple batch of this would make a great base for a punch bowl libation.

About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.

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