Shrubs turn fruit and vinegar into cocktails

May 17th, 2014 | by Eat Drink Indy | Jolene’s Blog, News, Wine & Spirits

Last fall I discovered shrubs, the fruit and vinegar syrups that were originally a Colonial-era way to preserve fruit but which can be used to create terrific cocktails.  Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, can be mixed with sparkling water for a non-alcoholic drink or with a compatible spirit (such as bourbon) for a great cocktail. In fact, the peach bourbon cocktail I made last fall was probably the best-tasting drink I’d ever made at home — it was tart, sweet and a little boozy with a great balance of flavors.

Then around the holidays last year, I made an apple cranberry shrub, another sweet-tart  concoction that was perfect for the season.

So now I thought I’d try a berry shrub. I used strawberries and a few blackberries along with some mint and thyme — the addition of herbs was inspired by a post from JW Marriott head bartender Jessica Taylor about shrubs she was making. Anyway, my berry shrub came out great too, and I’ve become a real fan of shrubs. I’m wondering now what other combinations I can come up with.

A Berry Bourbon Cocktail made with a strawberry-blackberry shrub.

A Berry Bourbon Cocktail made with a strawberry-blackberry shrub.

And in case you want to give shrubs a try, here are a couple of recipes I’ve made.

Berry Shrub

Makes about 2 cups

16-ounce package strawberries, stemmed and quartered

1/4  cup blackberries

About 24 mint leaves

Several sprigs of thyme

1 cup sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

In a bowl, mix fruit with torn or roughly chopped mint leaves and thyme. Add sugar and stir until fruit is well coated and sugar begins to dissolve, pressing on fruit with spoon to crush. Cover fruit and let sit (refrigerated if desired) for 1 to 3 days, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved and fruit has yielded its juices. Strain fruit through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing fruit to make sure you get all the syrup. Strain again if necessary to remove seeds. Stir together syrup (you should have at least 1 cup) with the vinegar. Store shrub covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Berry Bourbon Cocktail

Makes 1

1 1/2 ounces berry shrub

1 1/2 ounces bourbon

2 dashes angostura bitters

Ginger ale

Mint sprig and blackberry (optional) for garnish

In an ice-filled glass, add berry shrub, bourbon and bitters, stirring to combine. Top with a splash of ginger ale and garnish with a mint sprig and a blackberry, if desired.

Peach Shrub

Makes about 2 cups

4 medium peaches, pitted and roughly chopped

1 cup turbinado or granulated sugar

1 cup white wine vinegar

To make the shrub, place chopped peaches in a bowl. Add sugar and stir well to combine. Cover bowl (refrigerate if desired) 1 to 3 days, stirring occasionally to make sure sugar is dissolved. Strain fruit through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing fruit against sides. You should have at least 1 cup of syrup. Whisk vinegar into syrup. Pour into jar, cover and refrigerate up to a month.

Peach Bourbon Cocktail

Makes 1

1 1/2 ounces peach shrub

1 1/2 ounces bourbon

2 dashes angostura bitters

Splash ginger ale

Lime wedge and mint spring for garnish

In an ice-filled glass, combine peach shrub, bourbon and bitters, stirring to combine. Add a splash of ginger ale and garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig.

— Jolene Ketzenberger

Jolene’s Blog

Learn spice blending from a master

I hear about a lot of cool food-related events, but I can’t always get to them or even just get them posted. But this one is too good to miss. Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington is hosting master spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz, author of The Art of Blending and The Spice Companion and owner of … more »

MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS

Where to eat now

Long Branch

2205 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis


Festiva

1217 E. 16th St., Indianapolis

 

Mile Square Bistro

443 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis



||WP:global[id=archive-0-archive-el-20]||