Almost all the cocktail mix recipes we have learned, from the Simple Syrup to the Sweet and Sour Mix are available for purchase somewhere. The Homemade Strawberry Shrub is no exception. You can buy these products at a store or on-line but why would you? They are easy and frankly just taste better homemade.
What is a Shrub
A woody plant smaller than a tree……yes that is one definition but not the one we are looking for. We are searching for the shrub that is made using 3 ingredients fruit, sugar and vinegar. Modern mixologists have revived this elixir to the point all the hip kids are using it.
History of the shrub
There have been versions of the shrub dating back all the way to the Romans. It has been used to cover the taste of bad water, to keep rotting fruit preserved and calm an upset stomach. Sailors often drank citrus shrub to fend off scurvy and the same sailors used another version to remove the of odors of a nasty ship.
The shrub took hold here in America in Colonial times. but the word shrub is derived from the Arabic work “sarbah” which means “drink”. Sherbert and syrup also come from this root word.
You can make a shrub out of just about any fruit. Stone fruit like peaches and cherries or citrus fruit such as lemons or blood oranges. You may pick your vinegar apple, red wine, balsamic.. just remember the strength of vinegar varies and you will be drinking this and not cleaning the deck of your ship.
Because you often times used a shrub to keep fruit that was starting to go bad there is no exact measurement. The need is to have whatever the fruit you have heavily coated in sugar. That in turn makes it really easy to make.
For todays shrub I had about a pint or so of strawberries left from a brunch I had and they were starting to look a bit off. I took the stem off the berry and quartered them into a stainless steel bowl. I then coated liberally with sugar. Approximately a cup but it would vary on how many berries you had. I then left them to macerate over night.
You now have your berry part of the shrub. Add the equal amount of vinegar and whisk together. That means if there is a cup of berry juice in your measuring cup you will want to add another cup so your mixer will be two cups.
Finish by transferring your Shrub to an old clean liquor bottle and store in fridge for up to a month. In our next post we will make some delicious drinks with our shrub.