Blueberry Shrub

Blueberry Shrub

A shrub, isn’t that a tree? Indeed it is, but it’s also a “drinking” vinegar. A shrub dates back to Colonial America, when it was a very popular drink and a way to preserve fruit prior to the invention of refrigeration.

A shrub is a syrup that combines fruit, sugar and vinegar, and can be added to sparkling water to make a homemade soda, or added to alcohol to make an easy cocktail. Berries, peaches, pineapple and plums work well. The sweetness can be adjusted to your liking, as the acid in the vinegar enhances the sweetness of the fruit.

Recipe: Place 1 cup of blueberries (or fruit of your choice) in a 1 quart heatproof glass jar. Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup white wine vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar instead) to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the liquid over the berries in the glass jar and stir gently, crushing the berries to release their flavor. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for 5 days. I recommend storing it in the refrigerator.

Sparkling Drink

After the 5 days have passed, strain the shrub through a sieve lined with 3 layers of cheese cloth, into a clean glass jar. Cover and chill the shrub. The flavor will be strong, but will mellow after a few weeks. Shrubs can be made up to 6 months ahead and chilled.

When you’re ready to try it, combine up to 3 tablespoons of the shrub with 1 cup of club soda or sparkling water and ice. Taste it and add more shrub if you want it more tart. Garnish with fruit and/or fresh herbs.

For a cocktail, shake 2 ounces of the shrub to 1 1/2 ounces liquor of your choice and 1/2 ounce of lemon juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until cold. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with fruit and/or fresh herbs.

Inspired by: Food and Wine

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