Introducing Shrubs!

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In the past 5 years or so, a new trend has hit America’s cocktail scene called “shrubs”. If you have wondered why plants are on the drink menu, you aren’t thinking of the right kind of shrub. Shrubs, as they refer to drinks, is a vinegar based syrup. And they aren’t exactly new. Americans have been drinking shrubs since early colonial days when vinegar was used as a preservation method of fresh fruits. Back in the old days (think 1700’s), fruit didn’t stay fresh for long, so by using vinegar, colonists were able to have a fruit flavored beverage even in the off season. Back then, they used either a vinegar or a citrus juice (need some acid), sugar and fruit. Sometimes they would put rum in too.  Shrubs remained popular in North America until in home refrigeration became widespread. Today, shrubs are known as drinking vinegars and have become the darling of the competitive cocktail scene in North America.

There are several methods to making shrubs, as I found out in my internet research. One method calls for heating sugar and water on the stove (simple syrup) adding the fruit and cooking low and slow until the fruit absorbs the sugar water, then adding vinegar.

Making your own shrub is ridiculously easy. Take about 2 cups of your favorite flavored balsamic vinegar and one cup of fruit, herb, berry, or vegetable of your choice. Put the fruit in the bottom of a mason jar and pour the vinegar over the top. Let it infuse the flavor for a minimum of one hour up to overnight. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor. Strain and seal tightly in the refrigerator for up to one month. To serve, add 1-2 tablespoons (depending on your preference for sweetness) to 8oz of chilled sparkling water (no sodium added).  If adding to an alcoholic beverage, use about 1/2 ounce to about 2oz of rum / vodka, and about 3oz seltzer water.

Some ideas for tasty combinations:

Blood Orange Mango Coconut Shrub

2 Cups MTOO Coconut Balsamic

1 blood Orange

1 mango, peeled

Sparkling Water, no sodium added

 

Grapefruit-Cucumber Sparkling Shrub

2 cups of Grapefruit White Balsamic (or your choice of white balsamic)
1 medium cucumber thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced
8 cups seltzer water or sparkling water (without sodium added)

Blueberry Lemon-Thyme Balsamic Sparkling Shrub

2 cups MTOO Sicilian Lemon white balsamic

1 cup fresh blueberries crushed

2” sprig fresh thyme (optional)

8 cups chilled sparkling water

 

Strawberry – Peach Balsamic Sparkling Shrub

2 cups Peach white balsamic

1 cup fresh strawberries coarsely chopped

8 cups chilled sparkling water

 

Fresh Kiwi & Mango White Balsamic Sparkling Shrub

2 Cups Mango White Balsamic

1 cup peeled sliced kiwi fruit

8 cups chilled sparkling water

 

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