Ok – if I say, “Drinking Vinegar” – there is a good chance you will say, “Ewwww! No Way!” Way. Fruit Shrubs aka Drinking Vinegars are delightful summer cocktail/mocktail mixers and it is the perfect time of year to be making them.
They actually date back to the 17th Century as a practice of preserving fruits and berries for off season use. Once refrigeration became widely available, Shrubs fell out of favor. Now their back and hipster trendy!
Traditional Cold Shrubs are easy equal part recipes. 1 part fruit, 1 part sugar and 1 part vinegar. If you have fruit that is over-ripe or you just can’t use fast enough – throw it in a vented jar or Tupperware, add some sugar and let it sit overnight! The next day you have a delicious syrup!
How can you switch it up? Well, there are a couple of ways – you can add more ingredients. Try some fruit combos or add some herbs or vegetables. Here are some flavor combos that I really like:
- Strawberry and Rose Geranium
- Strawberry and Tarragon
- Peach and Strawberry
- Plum and Cardamom
- Blackberry and Lime
- Blueberry and Lavender
- Pineapple and Ginger
- Pineapple and Jalapeño
I could go on… but we need to move to Vinegars…. That’s right you can also switch your shrub up by switching out your vinegars. I really love a Champagne Citrus vinegar with the lighter berries like the strawberries or the blackberries. Strawberry and balsamic are also always a winner but you might want to do 50% balsamic and 50% white wine vinegar. The Peaches and Plums do well with the Apple Cider Vinegar… you get the idea!
The flavor profile of a Shrub is spectacular. True sweet fruit flavor balanced by the sharp sour profile of the vinegar – it is the best of both worlds.
When to drink them? All the time!
Mocktails – When I am serving drinks and someone asks for a mocktail this is a favorite go-to for me. They get a lovely drink that hits all of sweet and sour, add some bubbles for bright fun and herbs to garnish and you have a great zero alcohol drink that is not a soda or water. It also makes a great gift for expecting mothers!
I have a few friends that have acid reflux – and this is a great drink for them, the alkaline in the vinegar helps cut and reduce the acid in the stomach. You have to go easy on the bubbles though!
Strawberry and Rose Geranium Shrub
Place Sugar, Fruit and Herbs in a Vented Jar or Tupperware. If you don’t have a vented lid – you can cover it with Cheesecloth and a rubber band. I have Rose Geranium in my garden, if you don’t have this, grab a few stems of Tarragon – as small bunch. You don’t have to do anything with it and it will be delicious!
Set it out on the counter (It’s cool to see the progression) but out of sunlight for 24 hours. You will see the liquid start to form. Give it a shake once and while if you remember.
The next day shake and then strain through a fine mesh strainer. You should have 8 + ounces. Add the Vinegar and you are done.
Store in the refrigerator. It will last a 4-8 weeks or a bit longer.
Serve in a Tall Collins Glass or and Old Fashioned Glass. Garnish with Fruit and Herbs