After we meandered through the Walk in the Park, the Blitz Carlton crew headed back in to town and met up at Republic of Jam for cocktails and catching up. The Republic of Jam is a unique shop that specializes in jams and culinary concoctions of distinction made from local farms and suppliers. Each jar of jam contains at least one pound of fresh fruit, with half of the sugar of traditional jams – making them deliciously savory as well as sweet. These are not your average jams! With flavors like Apricot Vanilla Riesling and Mango Viognier, you are sure to have your taste buds teased and enthralled. In this little slice of heaven, members of the Jam Nation (the shop’s quarterly club) can wander the shelves of little gems like the much coveted Pacific Berry Jam, only made once a year, or perhaps some Cherry Black Pepper jam to spread on your pork chop. With other items such as Spiced Pomegranate Culinary Syrup as well as mustards, the sky is the limit when it comes with creative uses of these sauces and spreads. Republic of Jam’s proprietresses, Amy Wilder and Lynnette Shaw, are creative and inspired jam masters who are only limited by the supply of season fruit. The creative recipies and inspirations that they come up with are truly amazing. On our visit, we were treated to several nibbles as well as three cocktails, using both jams and culinary syrups. Try some fresh chevre or farmers cheese with a little blueberry jam, or perhaps a Smoked Tomato jam with bacon sandwich! The first cocktail was Plum Ginger culinary syrup, paired wit local winery Kramer Vineyards Brut. This created a Plum Royale, and the flavor of the plums make it a refreshingly fun sparkler, with a twist. When I got home, I had a bottle of Spiced Pomegranate syrup, so I tried that as well – and boy! What a way to ring in the holidays! Next up locally crafted artisan gin was paired with Blueberry Lemon jam, slowly dissolved in a glass with a generous slug of gin, topped with sparkling water. Lemon Blueberry Gin fizz anyone? I had two…or three! Hey, I was walking 2 blocks back to the B&B and the restaurant for dinner was next door. Our final jam libation was a Strawberry Mint Julep, created with Temperance Trader Bourbon, bitters, and Strawberry Black Pepper culinary syrup. With the unexpected kick of pepper at the end of a sweet julep, this was absolutely delicious. If you are in Carlton, be sure to stop by! Situated between 7 of Hearts winery and Horseradish cafe, you can stroll the main street all day and never be bored. As for me, I have about 7 jars of jam collected on my counter, and 3 culinary syrups in my fridge. This weekend is the Craft Spirits Carnival, and I will be doing my best mixology routine tomorrow! We’ll see how it goes… Happy jamming!