Bring Us A Shrubbery
When I first heard the term Shrub I immediately thought of Monty Python and the Knights Who Say Ni. They demand a Shrubbery in return for safe passage through their forest. If you love British humor and have never seen Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, it is a must see!
A Shrubbery is a small bush used in decorating your lawn, while a Shrub is type of drinking vinegar used in fancy cocktails. You see, they are two different things indeed!
The English version of the Shrub originated in the 15th century and was used as a medicinal cordial. Smugglers in the 1680’s trying to avoid import taxes would dump barrels of alcohol in the sea to retrieve later. The addition of fruit and vinegar added would mask the taste of sea water in the liquor. In the 17th and 18th centuries the drink became popular in the tavern, and made its way to America where the drink became a way to preserve seasonal fruit. Shrubs fell out of popularity when home refrigeration became popular. Source Wikipedia
However Shrubs are making a come back in fancy bars where they are making specialty cocktails at exorbitant prices. You can make your own Shrub at home for much cheaper! After all a Shrub is just an equal part mix of fruit (traditionally berries), sugar, and vinegar.
Strawberry, Lemon, & Mint Shrub
I used the cold processed method when making my Shrub. Simply peel the zest of 3 lemons with a veggie peeler and mash them into 1 cup sugar. Let sit in the fridge for about an hour.
Add your cup of strawberries and mash again. Let sit another hour in fridge to incorporate juices into the sugar. I also added my handful of mint at this time. Once the mixture has drawn the juices out of your fruit you are ready to add your vinegar.
For this Shrub I used 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar. Stir all together and let sit in fridge 24-48 hours. Then strain into a glass jar and you are done! You can then use your Shrub to mix fancy cocktails or just mix with sparkling water.
I have been enjoying my shrub over ice mixed with sparkling water. Another great application is to make your own salad dressing with Shrub and olive oil mixed together.
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Strawberries
Peel of 3 Lemons
Handful of Mint
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
The sky is the limit now that you know a Shrub is equal parts vinegar, sugar and fruit. Get in your kitchen and start experimenting. What a simple and easy way to replace soda if you are still drinking that stuff.