Why You Should Be Drinking Shrubs (And We're Not Talking About the Plant)
It can be easy to fall into a routine when it comes to serving yourself (or guests) a drink. A splash of this, a dash of that, and you'll find yourself pouring the same batch of gin and tonics or vodka cranberries every time. Change things up in a delicious way by reaching for a different kind of cocktail instead: the oft-overlooked shrub.
'Shrub' has had various meaning throughout time. In 17th and 18th century England, a shrub was the name for a fruit liqueur mixed with brandy before serving. During colonial times in America, shrubs were a mix of vinegar syrup, spirits, and water. Nowadays, when something is called a 'shrub' they're most commonly referring to a sweetened vinegar syrup, also known as drinking vinegars. These vinegars make amazing cocktails and mocktails, and these tangy beverages are often just called 'shrubs' themselves.
A shrub syrup is created by cooking down fruit, sugar, vinegar, and usually a little water in a pot. Once strained, you'll be left with a zippy, fruity, and vibrantly colored syrup that is perfect for mixing. To make a cocktail, add a dash of the syrup to chilled sparkling wine, like in our Cranberry-Ginger Shrub, or mix it with club soda and a splash of your favorite liquor, like in our Rhubarb-Basil Shrub Cocktails. If you're looking to make a kid-friendly beverage, or just give your liver a break, you can create a mocktail by combining the shrub syrup, carbonated water, and a dash of your favorite fresh herbs, like we do in our Cranberry Sage Shrub recipe.
If you're worried about making these delicious drinks to order at your next event, you can easily bottle these beverages ahead of time. They'll last for a few months in the fridge. Simply use a funnel to divide your cocktail or mocktail recipe amongst small bottles or jars with lids, close them up, and you can add a little extra flair by tying a ribbon around each.