Soon after my parents got married, they bought a plum tree. I'm not quite sure why, but I believe it had something to do with the new couple "planting roots" or being told to "be fruitful and multiply." Now, thirty-three years later, I have five siblings and that same tree drops forty to fifty pounds of fruit between July and September each year. The plums are great all by themselves or made into jams and tarts, but when you're facing 2 to 3 pounds of plums each day, you've got to get really creative. That's where a shrub syrup comes into play.
Shrub syrups were covered in a Cocktail 101 post earlier this summer, but if you missed it or are a little hesitant about drinking vinegar, we'll go over it again. First things first: what's a shrub? Well, it's not just a decorative plant. A shrub is a deliciously tart fruit syrup, usually made of sugar, fresh fruit, and vinegar. The syrup is then used to flavor beverages both alcoholic and non-, and is frequently topped up with something sparkling.
How do you make it? I highly recommend doing it the slow way, which is hands down the easiest. Chop fruit. Add vinegar. Refrigerate. Add sugar. Simmer. Chill.
Remember that it's still summertime, so chilling is the most important part.
- To make shrub:
- 1 cup chopped plums
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- To make drinks:
- 1 liter ginger ale
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt (for rim)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for rim)
Place chopped plums and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 72 hours. A mason jar also works well.
Remove plum vinegar from refrigerator and empty into a 2 quart pot. Add sugar and simmer just until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
When syrup is cool, strain through a sieve into a bowl, pushing on the solids to extract extra juice. Chill in refrigerator till cool.
Pour a tablespoon of ginger ale on a saucer and dip rims of four serving glasses into it, rotating to wet the rims. Combine kosher salt and granulated sugar in a small plate. Dip glasses into sugar/salt mixture, rotating to coat rim.
Fill glasses with ice and pour 1/4 cup of plum shrub syrup in each glass. Top up with ginger ale and serve immediately.