11 September 2014

Making Shrub

As an "alcoholic beverage retailer" I get tons of publications with all the newest trends in cocktails, which is fun and frustrating. Fun because I always have new ideas from folks at the top of the industry, frustrating because we live in a small rural town in the midwest and "trends" are not the easiest to come by. Occasionally I concoct my own spin on cocktails if I can't find exactly what I need....hence the "shrub" recipe.

In all honesty I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but if it's made with vinegar, I'm usually game. The shrub is an old non-alcoholic beverage and you can read it's history all over the internet with a simple search. (I'm sorry, I hate to just repeat what someone else has said better before me :))

I had a quart of fresh strawberries needing to be used and lemons galore, so that's how I ended up with this recipe. I was a bit hesitant about strawberries as I don't usually care for strawberry flavored anything as it's SO sweet, but the shrub can really use the sweet to counter balance it's tartness. The recipe filled a wine bottle about 3/4 full so maybe yield is about 3 cups-ish.

Strawberry Lemon Shrub
2 fresh lemons, juiced
1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 cup Champagne Vinegar (Champagne vinegar is a MUST or any delicate wine or rice vinegar. Do not use apple cider or white vinegar)
1 cup sugar

Combine strawberries, vinegar and lemon juice in a glass container. Stir and leave at room temperature for 48 hours. Add sugar, stir and allow to sit stirring or shaking occasionally up to 4 days.
Strain berries from juice using a jelly bag or cheesecloth and refrigerate before serving.

(This was the only photo I took and it's super tacky, but you'll get the point of what it should look like and the color is stunning!)

I served the shrub at my Preserving Class with Prosecco wine, a fruity, dry sparkling wine from Italy. You could also use and "Brut" sparkling wine. I would be hesitant to use any sweet sparkling wine. While the shrub is tart from the vinegar, it's still sooooo sweet in the layers of flavors. I also thought club soda was fantastic for a refreshing brunch drink! There are many cocktail recipes online, using shrubs in them. This keeps about a month in the fridge.

I think I'd like to try a pear/ginger shrub for the fall! Let me know what you try out and what your thoughts were on flavor combinations!!

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