And just like that, summer is here, and so is the very first heat wave. I’m deeply devoted to having warm and cozy drinks every day, but I’ve definitely been icing my matcha and superfood lattes for the past week or so. It also feels very nice to have something chilled and bubbly in the early evening, when it’s still light outside, and the sky is just beginning to turn pretty sunset colors. It’s those little details that make summer so special. For me, that something bubbly is usually kombucha, but I recently learned about fruit shrubs and fell in love. A shrub is a drinking vinegar syrup, which is delicious served over ice with seltzer or as a cocktail component. Today I’m specifically talking about fruit shrubs, which are so easy to make and last a while in the fridge. The flavor is definitely reminiscent of kombucha – fruity with a vinegary acidity, but the preparation requires much less patience than homemade booch. This is very much a no-recipe recipe, since it can be interpreted so many ways, with so many different fruit and aromatics. There’s a video explaining the whole process as well!
Follow the ratio provided in the recipe below, using a combination of any of these ingredients. Experimenting with the flavors is the most fun part.
Ginger (ideally fresh)
Peppercorns (black or pink)
+ their zest
- 1 lb fruit of choice (see above for suggestions)
- ¾ - 1 cup sugar (I like to use raw cane sugar here)
- any aromatics of choice (see above for suggestions) - to taste
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- In a large bowl, combine the fruit and sugar, mixing well. Use a potato masher to gently mash up the fruit in order to get it to start releasing its juices and to break up the skins if present. Add the aromatics like bruised or chopped herbs, spices, citrus juice/zest, etc. Cover and set aside for at least 4 hours, or ideally refrigerate overnight, especially if using tougher fruit like apples, pears, rhubarb.
- Strain the fruit mixture through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to squeeze all the juices out of the pulp. Add the vinegar and mix well. Transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Enjoy your shrub by filling a glass with ice, adding a splash of the shrub, and topping it with seltzer and/or liquor of choice.