Sunday, August 27, 2017

Time for Shrubbing with Julianne Holmes -- #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Mystery World is a funny place. You meet the nicest people and then discover how wonderfully, delightfully devious they are! Case in point: Julianne Holmes, aka J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus, one of my favorite people in mystery-dom. When I realized she'd never been our guest, I nabbed her, and am delighted that she's joining us today, celebrating the release of Chime and Punishment, the third Clockshop Mystery, earlier this month. Appropriately, we're celebrating with a cocktail. (Or is that a clocktail?) 
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Chime and Punishment!

Making a Shrub with Julianne Holmes a.k.a. J. A. Hennrikus

In the third book of my clock shop series, Time and Punishment, Pat Reed is experimenting with making shrubs. Anyone who is familiar with the series will know that Pat works at the Cog & Sprocket, Ruth Clagan’s clock shop in Orchard Massachusetts. His wife, Nancy, is on the board of selectmen in this book. His daughter Moira is still running her café, The Sleeping Latte. The book takes place in June, prime shrub season in my opinion.
What, you may ask, is a shrub? I was first introduced to these a couple of years ago by a friend who had over picked blueberries one summer and was experimenting with ways to use them. A shrub is an old-fashioned drink, berry infused vinegar with sugar that is mixed into seltzer water, or added to a cocktail. From what I understand, shrubs go back to colonial times when people were trying to preserve fruit without refrigeration. The tartness of the vinegar, and the sweetness of the berries and sugar make it a very refreshing and interesting drink. Nowadays, drinking vinegars are all the rage, and so I've been experimenting with them more and more. In this post I'll show you a couple of ways of making shrubs. There are many. I'm using blueberries, but they could be made with all different types of fruits.

Cold Process Shrubs: 
In a blender, put a cup of berries, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of raw cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of a cup of honey (or sugar), and some fresh ginger. You could also add lemon juice for extra zing. Blend them all up. Strain it through cheesecloth or through a ricer.  Refrigerate for a couple of days and then uses syrup with soda water, or in a cocktail.
I've also read recipes that have sugar and fruit mashed up and left on the countertop in a bowl for a few days to marinate. Vinegar is then added, and after a few more daysthe fruit is strained and ready to use.

Hot Process Shrubs
There are a couple of ways to make hot infused shrubs as well.
One way is to make a simple syrup, put berries in with the simple syrup, and let it let them pop and boil down a bit. Add the vinegar, strain, and refrigerate.
The recipe I'm using in this post has simple syrup made with vinegar instead of water. It is more potent, and more tasty. Boil the cider and sugar into a syrup (a cup of each), add the berries (2 cups) and boil them down. Strain, or rice, and refrigerate. The shrub will be ready to use in 2 to 4 days.

You can also infuse your shrubs with herbs like rosemary. Play with your vinegar/sugar ratio. Shrubs are a very refreshing way of adding pop to your summer drinks.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Chime and Punishment! Got a favorite cocktail? A clock story? Mr. Kitten will choose the winner Tues morning, Aug 29.

Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment came out this August. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters. T:@JHAuthors I: @jahenn

Chime and Punishment: The clock is ticking on Ruth Clagan’s latest project—the rehab of the town’s clocktower. Years ago a fire destroyed the tower and Ruth inherited the dream of hearing those bells again, along with her shop, the Cog and Sprocket, from her grandfather. She’s determined to make them both work, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.
A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fundraiser for the final stage of the project. When Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell the list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.
Times awastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.


  1. My clock story is my Dad loves to collect clocks so twice a year, it takes a good portion of time for my husband and I to change them all for him! (Lol)

  2. My clock story is that I collect clocks - hundred of them (they're in an armoire display case). Thankfully I don't wind them - otherwise that would make for a LOT of deafening ticking noises ;)

  3. I had never heard of a shrub before now. I do not have a favorite cocktail to try them in, but I know someone who would likely love to attempt this recipe.

    1. They are a lot of fun! Great in seltzer, which is how I usually drink them.

  4. I have to Shrubs are new to me, but I think I'll have to try them!! Thanks for sharing! I love old clocks have a few. It is crazy to keep them wound up and running, but I love to hear them chime!