Are you looking to add variety to your beverages? Mix things up with shrubs: a tart, non-alcoholic, drinkable vinegar syrup made of fruit, vinegar and sugar. In American colonial times, shrubs preserved fresh fruits, but today they add loads of flavor to sparkling water, juices, wine, cocktails and mocktails, or they can be enjoyed as a stand-alone refreshment.
It’s essential to use an equal ratio of fruit, sugar and vinegar for the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The process is simple; toss sliced or gently mashed fruit and herbs or spices in a bowl with sugar. Cover and refrigerate for about two days to macerate, then strain into a bowl. Whisk in an equal amount of vinegar and transfer to an airtight container. You can use shrubs immediately; however, refrigerating them for a few weeks will soften the strong vinegar taste and allow more fruit flavors to shine.
Incredibly refreshing and versatile, shrubs offer endless flavor possibilities. You can use various sugars and vinegars like apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar or Champagne vinegar. Shrubs also provide the perfect opportunity to use bruised, overripe or imperfect produce that still offers bright tastes. To enhance the shrub’s flavor and dimension, you can add extra flavorings like fresh herbs and spices to the basic formula.
Try an apple-herb shrub in our Fall Apple & Herb Smash recipe, or add a whole new layer of flavor and character to your beverages with these creative shrub combinations!
Pomegranates + Granulated Sugar + Red Wine Vinegar + Cardamom
Grapefruit + Granulated Sugar + Coconut Vinegar + Fresh Ginger
Oranges + Brown Sugar + Champagne Vinegar + Rosemary