Shrubs are vinegar, sugar and fruit. Shrubs are delicious and easy to make.
They are delicious, they quench your thirst (the Gatoraid of the 1800s) and they add a great twist in cocktails. They are a great addition to hot summer parties and a non-alcoholic alternative.
Shrubs are more tart/acidic because of the vinegar, and that tends to scare people away. But it is surprisingly refreshing when added with the right things.
Add any shrub to soda water and lots of ice with a bit of fresh lime or lemon juice, and you’ll see this drink disappear during your summer parties.
I highly recommend this book with tons of recipes for shrubs and shrub-based drinks: Shrubs – An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch.
The first shrub I made was a hit. From this website.
20 Chopped and pitted plums
1 basket of Raspberries
2 oz Juniper Berries
2 oz Cardamom seeds
2 peeled oranges and their juices
32 oz cane sugar
750 mL Champagne vinegar
pinch of salt
Combine the fruit with the sugar, mix well, and let macerate for a day or until the sugar dissolves and becomes liquefied, in the fridge. Add vinegar and blend with hand blender (I just mashed everything together using a wooden spoon). Add all other ingredients, stir, and cover for a minimum of a week, better in two.
After two weeks I strained the solids (BONUS: keep the solids in another jar and fill jar with vodka. I don’t like vodka but after soaking up the fruit leftovers for 3 days, it was delicious with some ice and soda water).
It was sooooo good I didn’t really need to add gin to it (although it’s great with gin).
New shrubs I am currently making:
Strawberry + cane sugar + mixed peppercorns then soaked with apple cider vinegar.
Strawberry + cane sugar + pink peppercorns then soaked with apple cider vinegar.
Strawberry + cane sugar + cardamom seeds then soaked in champagne vinegar.
Strawberry + cane sugar then soaked in balsamic vinegar.
All the recipes are the same: macerate strawberries + spices with sugar in a tight jar for one day. Then add vinegar (it’s 2:1 for the fruit and vinegar except for balsamic, which is 3:1). and let sit in the fridge for a few days. Strain, and leave in fridge for a week. Then serve!!