Shrub is a syrup made from fruits or vegetables, sugar, and vinegar. The vinegar might put you off at first, but don't be alarmed. A shrub is really no more tart than some lemonades are. The vinegar, fruit, and sugar are harmonious in a well-made shrub, and if any one flavor takes charge, it's the fruit.
In this case, I've paired pumpkin with a natural fall partner: apple cider vinegar. The flavors are pumpkiny with a hint of cinnamon and ginger to very gently remind you of pie season, without hitting you over the head with the Pumpkin Pie Spice flavors that are so common at this time of year.
This autumnal shrub is great served cold, either with booze (such rum or bourbon) or on its own with soda water or, better still, ginger beer. Or you also top it with hot water and your favorite brown spirit and serve it as a Pumpkin Shrub Toddy.
Why this recipe works:
- Apple cider vinegar adds a delicate tartness to classic fall flavors of pumpkin and spice.
- Shrubs can be served with spirits, or you can use them as a nonalcoholic option by mixing with soda water or ginger beer.
- 1 small pie pumpkin such as sugar pumpkin or kabocha squash, about 3 pounds
- 1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Cut stem from pumpkin and slice pumpkin in half. Scoop and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Roast pumpkin until easily pierced with a fork near the stem end, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven, set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop out flesh with a spoon, discarding skin.
Add pumpkin flesh to a glass or plastic container. Add sugar, vinegar, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight or for up to 24 hours.
Pass pumpkin mixture through a food mill or sieve, pressing the liquid into a bowl. Mostly, you're trying to capture the liquid, a combination of pumpkin juice and vinegar, but don't worry if a little of the pumpkin puree passes through the sieve. Discard the remaining solids. Return liquid to a jar and refrigerate. Shrub will keep for several months in the refrigerator.
baking sheet, resealable jar