When summer is in full swing I find myself looking for a savory refreshing cocktail to replace all the boozy, Kool-Aid clones that are so synonymous with hot days. This year I found one… a shrub. A shrub is a drink based on vinegar and it sounds like it would be horrible but when mixed with fruit it is absolutely refreshing after a day in the garden. This drink is very versatile and can be experimented with using different liquors and garnishes.
First make the Shrub syrup
2 cups Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
2 cups sugar
2 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar*
1 inch ginger skinned, sliced into coins
1. Combine the strawberries, sugar, ginger, and vinegar in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Watch it carefully; it can boil over.
2. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook for 10 minutes uncovered.
3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
4. Once cooled strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a sealable glass jar.
5. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for at least two weeks.
Now you can make your drink(s):
2 oz. shrub syrup, chilled
2 oz. Vanilla Vodka**
Club soda, chilled
1. In a tall glass add ice, shrub syrup and vodka
2. Stir well
3. Top with club soda
4. Garnish with mint sprig
*Do not use a filtered cider. Most grocery stores carry Bragg a high quality unfiltered vinegar. You may have to find it in the organic section.
**Many liquors work well with this drink including spiced rum, gin, bourbon, and plain and other fruit flavored vodkas.
***Basil, thyme, and sage can also produce great results depending on the liquors you choose.
I found this recipe in Edible Cleveland Magazine, Spring 2013. Recipe is by Jon Benedict.
The strawberries used in this recipe are “Alpine White”. I was given some of these plants last year and they have proven to be quite prolific. Another perk is that their color does not seem to attract the birds so they don’t eat them. The fruits are small, soft, and seedy. The flavor has a bit of a grape aftertaste. Due to the size and soft texture I found that they are perfect for cooking with as long as I strain out the seeds with a cheesecloth.