Good news everyone – shrub cocktails are ‘in’! We’re talking about shrubs, the cocktail (or the fruit vinegar), not shrubs, the plant.
If you’ve never heard of a ‘shrub’, don’t worry, you’re not alone! The term ‘shrub’ refers to a drink that was popular during America’s Colonial era – made by mixing a sweet vinegar with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term ‘shrub’ can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as “drinking vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.
Shrubs (the sweet vinegar) came to be in a time before refrigeration – fresh fruit went bad pretty quickly, so people started loading fresh fruit in to big crocks with sugar to preserve them. The sweetened juice at the bottom of the crock would ferment after a couple of weeks and become a tasty fruit vinegar. They would take this vinegar and mix it in to drinks to get add a tart, summery flavour.
These days people just add a bit of vinegar to sweetened fruit instead of waiting for the juice to ferment in to vinegar.
Did you know that our balsamic vinegars are PERFECT for making shrubs? Or, if you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can add one of our balsamic vinegars straight to whatever cocktail recipe you’re following. Believe it or not, our white balsamic vinegars are great all by themselves in a glass of sparkling water!
Here is one version of a recipe on how to make your own shrub for cocktails:
- Fresh fruit (berries, stonefruit, etc. Anything juicy!)
- Vinegar (we recommend a balsamic, obviously!)
- Sugar (regular white sugar will work, but you could always use a cane sugar or even honey!)
- Add equal parts vinegar and fresh fruit together in an airtight container (you can use white vinegar, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, but why not use a flavoured balsamic that compliments the fruit you’re using?)
- Shake the container vigorously for 10-15 seconds
- Refrigerate for 1 week, shake the container every day
- Strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth in to a clean jar or bottle
- Add sugar – about 25% less than the amount of vinegar used (so, if you used a cup of fruit and a cup of vinegar, add 3/4 cup of sugar) you can add more sugar if needed
- Refrigerate for another week, shaking the jar every day until all the sugar has dissolved