Sangria in a Can
Fermenting apple juice started as a therapeutic hobby for retired United States Marine Corps Sergeant Jason Duren after he returned from Afghanistan with two traumatic brain injuries. Partnering with his brother, Josh, the combat veteran flipped that hobby into Cider Corps, a hard cider craft brewery in Mesa. Among the roughly dozen styles offered by the brothers is Sangin Sangria ($16, 4-pack). Named after the war-torn town and valley in Afghanistan where Jason served, the beverage offers “a way for us to continue honoring the sacrifices of the guys who survived and passed away there,” Jason Duren says. The canned sangria is a heady blend of fermented apple, prickly pear, strawberry, elderberry, passion fruit, orange and lime juices. Typically, sangria runs overly sweet, but Sangin Sangria leans toward semi-sweet, making it a perfect elixir over ice or a stylish cocktail mixer. Find Sangin Sangria at AJ’s Fine Foods, Whole Foods and Total Wine. Prices vary.
Cocoa Grilling Rub
Jim and Maureen Elitzak are known in the Valley and beyond for their swoon-worthy, small-batch chocolates. Recently, they expanded their product line to include Cocoa Grilling Rub ($12 with tin; $9 refill). Using cocoa powder pressed in-house from ethically sourced, premium cacao beans, the Elitzaks experimented with a selection of spices to create the robust grilling rub. You’ll detect hints of paprika, ginger, mustard, cinnamon and ancho chile, sparked with fennel, onion and garlic. The rub enhances everything from beef and lamb to chicken and seafood, Jim says. “It’s a really interesting way to add depth of flavor that doesn’t taste like chocolate, but is cocoa-forward. People use it on everything.”
Spicy Shoyu Sauce
If you’re a fan of Koibito Poke, you’ve probably drizzled – or poured – the house shoyu sauce ($6.99) over your raw fish bowls at the build-a-bowl restaurant. It’s so good that ownership decided to bottle the popular sauce, says Koibito operations director Rick Ray. The no-nonsense blend of tamari and sriracha is lit up with togarashi spice, a heady mix of chile pepper, orange peel, black sesame seeds and seaweed. The sassy sauce tarts up raw salmon, yellowtail, tuna or ahi and can elevate a simple bowl of rice. Also available at Koibito: take-home bottles of teriyaki sauce ($6.99), a soy- and sugar-based elixir used in the restaurant’s grilled chicken bowls. Both chef-prepared sauces are available at the Valley’s four Koibito outlets.