Shrubs have been gaining in popularity lately. An old-timey way of preserving, they generally involve fruit, sugar, and vinegar, and make quite a refreshing beverage. I've paired it with a mint simple syrup, pickled watermelon rind, and watermelon spoom (you know, that sorbet with the meringue in it). Watermelon three ways? Rejoice!
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Everyone has their spring rituals—mine is getting my hands on some rhubarb. I start circling my favorite greenmarket stands in mid-April, waiting less-than-patiently for the humble pink stalks to show up. A homemade shrub syrup is the ideal way to feature rhubarb in cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.
In this no-alcohol libation, the rhubarb shrub mimics the flavor and intensity that alcohol would bring to a gimlet.
With pear brandy, orange liqueur, and rhubarb shrub, this drink keeps the spirit of the Sidecar with three bold flavors.
Rhubarb is a noted ingredient in the Italian aperitif Aperol. Pairing Aperol with the rhubarb shrub really highlights this flavor note and lets the more savory side of rhubarb shine.
Tart rhubarb practically begs to celebrated in a shrub.
Though shrubs are super-trendy now, they date back to colonial America; before there was refrigeration, vinegar was a handy tool for preserving fruit. It's pretty rare that we'd eagerly recommend any bottled cocktail mixer, but we recently sampled a line of shrub syrups from Shrub & Co and we're really big fans.
Last year, I described the shrub syrup, and presented a recipe for making shrubs at home. At the time, I was working with simple shrub syrups, consisting of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. These are always delicious, but they can be a little one-note. Today, I'm going to complicate things a little, by introducing accent ingredients that complement the fruit base and provide a deeper, more complex flavor to the shrub.
The delicate flavor of peaches is complemented by apple cider vinegar in this tangy shrub syrup. Serve it with white rum or simply add it to seltzer.
Lately it seems like I keep hearing about shrubs. I'm not talking about the bushes that line your front yard—this is way better. The shrub that I'm referencing is a vinegary syrup used as a way preserve fruit made with three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and vinegar.
The vinegar adds sharp intensity to the flavor of the fruit, allowing the combination to come alive in your mouth, hitting both sweet and tart notes.