Fruit shrubs originated in 17th century England as a way of preserving berries for the winter season. Another name for this refreshing summer beverage is “drinking vinegar,” which may not sound too appealing for some who do not like vinegar. In fact, the original recipe used 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar, but it was too intense even for me, so after a couple of test runs, I reduced the vinegar amount to only ½ cup. Berry summer shrub tastes a little like kombucha but is not fermented. It is a healthy and delicious alternative to soda drinks.
10 oz assorted berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) cut into chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup vinegar (white or apple cider, balsamic, or any artisanal vinegar)
Club soda or mineral water
You can substitute sugar for honey or experiment by adding citrus peels and spices, such as cardamom, fresh ginger, or star anise. There are even tomato shrubs or cranberry shrubs.
Delicious Muscovado Sugar
Muscovado is my favorite type of sugar for this kind of recipe because it has a smoked molasses flavor, but any type of sugar will do.
In a larger jar, combine the berries and sugar. (For this recipe, I used mainly frozen mulberries from this year’s plentiful harvest).
Muddle the berries with sugar using a fork or a muddler.
Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for one to two days.
After one day, strain the drink to separate the juice from the seeds and fruit skin. Depending on the fruit you use, you will have about half to 2/3 of the original volume left. Add vinegar and refrigerate. With time, the flavors should mellow and become fruitier.
Server over ice with mineral water or club soda. Garnish with mint or basil leaves for an extra punch of flavor. The shrub concentrate can be used in other alcoholic cocktails of your choice.
The shrub will keep for several months in the refrigerator.
Edible cocktails by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen
Book Call Number: 641.874 BOVIS
Zero proof cocktails : 90 non-alcoholic recipes for mindful drinking by ElvaRamirez and Robert Bredvad
Book Call Number: 641.875 RAMIREZ
Book Call Number: 641.875 TARHUNI
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