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Learn about new products, make new friends via Internet

SUBMITTED PHOTOS  - You can use McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars as mixers for cocktails or by themselves.

Don’t you love how the Internet brings us together? You can keep tabs on family across the nation, and even make new friends around the world with the click of the “send” button.

That was the case with my new friend, Mike Bowman, head mover and shaker for McClary’s Brothers Drinking Vinegars. He is based in Atlanta, and sent this email:

“Hi Barb,

I was just online and read your most recent article (I’m in a cab on my way home after enjoying some shrub cocktails). I love what you wrote about drinking vinegars!

Check out our company, McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars. We were lucky enough to be on the season premiere of Shark Tank this year and since our episode aired our business has exploded!

I’d love to send you some samples if you’re interested.

Cheers,

Mike Bowman”

Of course I was interested. Mike mailed the samples: We loved them. Next, I wanted to talk to Jess McClary, the founder and mother of the McClary Brothers. She shared the background story.

Founded in 2012, Jess named the company for her then 4-year-old sons, Jack and Ben. The business originally start as McClary Bros. Bakehouse, a home-based baker.

“I was in culinary school at the time, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do professionally,” she said. “Baking was something I’d always been comfortable doing and my husband suggested I just make some products and sell them at a local farmers’ market, just to see what would happen.”

The bakehouse grew steadily and many of the products were made with seasonal Michigan produce. Over time, Jess grew to dislike the unhealthy aspects of baking. She wanted to showcase local flavors but wanted to find a healthier method.

“I did a lot of research into old-fashioned preservation techniques and when I found drinking vinegars (shrubs) I had a light bulb moment. I knew I’d found the answer, even if no one believed me yet.”

There were no cookbooks for her to check recipes, quantities or ratios, so she had to design her recipes from scratch, which, she said, meant they weren’t all winners.

“I let the fruit tell me what kind of vinegar it’s going to be,” she said. “The harvest is my inspiration.”

McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars is based in Detroit and makes all natural, handcrafted small batch drinking vinegars, one of my favorite beverages. Drinking vinegar, also called shrub, is a Colonial-era drink mixer. McClary Bros makes their drinking vinegars with organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and fresh, seasonal ingredients and organic cane sugar. The result is a refreshing, exciting mixer which you can use to make cocktails or drink as shrub sodas.

Mike sent me samples of their “Big 4”: pineapple and fennel seed, Michigan apple pie, lemon and ginger and Michigan beet and carrot. They are delicious and delightful. What I like about drinking vinegars is the zippy tart flavor; you know you are doing something really good for your body by drinking the probiotics in the vinegar.

Mike said recent lab results showed McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars have much less sugar, calories and carbs than traditional soda or cocktail mixers.

You can cook with the drinking vinegars too. Jess says they are delicious in salad dressings, marinades and sauces.

“Let your imagination do the cooking, just have a shrub cocktail in hand while it’s simmering,” the website advises.

As mentioned in the first email I received from Mike, McClary Bros received funding from ABC TV’s “Shark Tank.” This has helped launch the company’s coast-to-coast expansion.

You can buy McClary Bros Drinking Vinegars at The Meadow on 805 N.W. 23rd Ave. in Portland or online at mcclarybros.com, and Mike was working on securing other locations in our area.

Try the drinking vinegars by themselves and in cocktails, and then experiment with them when you cook.

Mike shared a few recipes with me, so give these a try. Then visit the website and leave them a comment about how you enjoyed them. You’ll make some fun new friends in the process.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Several flavors are available, all are made with fresh seasonal fruit.

Try Michigan Apple Pie with bourbon, rye and whiskey, or hard ciders or fruit beers.

The Michigan Beet and Carrot drinking vinegar is great paired with gin or tequila or sparkling white wine.

The lemon and ginger drinking vinegar can be added to hard lemonade, or paired with gin, whiskey or tequila.

Strawberries with a Zip

This tart strawberry topping is the perfect match for cheesecake, or ice cream or pie. ... You get the idea.

1 pound strawberries, sliced

1 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

1/4 cup McClary Bros Lemon & Ginger Drinking Vinegar

Mix well. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2-4 hours, occasionally mixing or shaking.

Sesame Ginger

Cucumber Salad

Serves 3-4

1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil

3 tablespoons McClary Bros Lemon & Ginger Drinking Vinegar

Sea salt and pepper to taste

2 large cucumbers, diced or thinly sliced

Whisk first four ingredients together and pour over cucumbers. Mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.

Recipes courtesy of McClary Bros Drinking Vinegar.

Moringa is a superfood, more nutrient dense than kale. Kuli Kuli Foods makes it easy to get more vegetables in your diet.

Meet moringa, a leafy green vegetable more nutritious than kale

Another new friend I made recently is Manuela Warnar of Kuli Kuli Foods. Kuli Kuli is America’s leading moringa brand – moringa is a leafy green vegetable more nutritious than kale. It is rich in iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants, and provides a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Indigenous people around the globe have eaten moringa for thousands of years to stay health in areas where little else grows.

If you are looking for a way to get more vegetables in your diet, try Kuli Kuli’s moringa superfood products. You can enjoy it as a powder to add to smoothies, bars or a green energy shot. Each 2.5-ounce shot or bar equals ½ cup of leafy greens. One tablespoon of the powder is equal to two cups of leafy greens.

Kuli Kuli Foods products can be purchased online at kulikulifoods.com or Whole Foods, Sprout and Market of Choice.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

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