Category Archives: #33 july-august: party food

july-aug: anna’s strawberry and rosemary shrub

This isn’t party food, but I think party drinks (especially alcoholic ones) also qualify for this month’s theme! I first heard of / tried a shrub syrup when I was doing an olive mill tour and tasting at Round Pond Estate in the Napa Valley. A shrub syrup is a fruit syrup mixed with vinegar (originally the vinegar was used to preserve the fruit), which sounds like an unusual combination, but it makes for a really refreshing drink, especially on a hot summer’s day! In addition to olive oil, Round Pond also makes their own red wine vinegar. On the tour, we sampled some food and drinks using their products, including a shrub cocktail using their red wine vinegar.  Shrub syrups can simply be mixed with soda water, or you can also add alcohol to make a really tasty cocktail! We weren’t allowed to have alcohol on the tour (which is ironic since Round Pond Estate is also a winery) so I had to try making a shrub for myself to see what it would be like in a cocktail! IMG_7539

Simply choose your fruit and any other additions – I used strawberry and rosemary.IMG_7551

Muddle, add sugar and let sit at room temperature for a couple of days. Then add vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) and either strain immediately and refrigerate for a sharper taste, or let sit at a room temperature for another few days before straining and refrigerating for a more mellow, slightly fermented taste (I prefer to strain the syrup straight away after adding the vinegar). The syrup will keep refrigerated for a few months.IMG_7556

I mixed my cocktails with vodka, but gin was also a crowd pleaser. The syrup can be made in advance for a party and mixed when guests arrive. There aren’t too many ingredients to combine (the flavor is all infused in the syrup) so it’s a quick cocktail to make if you’re playing host!IMG_7579I also packed a pre-mixed bottle for a camping trip and it went down very well in front of the campfire!

Recipe adapted from Strawberry Rosemary Shrub Recipe (I cut down on the sugar in the recipe by half)

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July-Aug: Constance’s Boozy Popsicles


Popsicles are the perfect antidote to the sweltering Hong Kong heat, adding booze to the pops makes them the perfect adult party treat. I made two different kinds of pops and both were a huge hit with the big kids. I used Norpro Ice Pop makers, which you can get here.

The golden rule according to People’s Pop, a Brooklyn based ice-pop shop, when it comes to making alcoholic pops is to use 20% total alcohol which works out to be about 1 shot per 3 ounce pop.

The first batch, Pineapple-Blackberry Vodka Pops I adapted the recipe from Tasting Table. You can find the recipe here.

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The second batch, Peach Sangria Popsicles, you can find here.

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Both had bits of frozen fruits inside them which added more flavour and zing to the pops! I wrapped the pops in wax paper and used Washi tape to seal them. You can make kid friendly ones by simply omitting the booze and using coloured popsicle sticks to differentiate them.

Each recipe yields around 10 popsicles.  Enjoy!