1. Vinegar is the base ingredient for making a shrub, also called a "drinking vinegar", which can be used to add flavor to cocktails or other non-alcoholic beverages. To make a shrub, combine 1 cup of fresh fruit and 1 cup of vinegar in a jar and allow it to macerate in a refrigerator for one week. Add 1/2 cup of sugar after the week. Use less sugar if the fruit was particularly sweet. 00:12
2. To make a watermelon shrub, combine 1 cup of watermelon purée and 1 cup of champagne vinegar. Store the mixture in an airtight jar in a refrigerator for one week. Scoop extra solids out from the liquid. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar into liquid. 01:38
3. To make a strawberry shrub, macerate 1 cup of strawberries in 1 cup of champagne vinegar for a week. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar into mixture. 01:54
4. To make a habanero shrub, macerate the desired amount of habanero peppers in 1 cup o apple cider vinegar for a week. Add sugar to taste. 02:04
What You'll Need
- Measuring cups
- Vinegar (1 cup)
- Fruit and/or herbs, fresh (1 cup)
- Sugar (1/2 cup)
Vinegar is made by adding bacteria to diluted wine or ale, fermented fruits and grains, or just about any other food containing natural sugars. As such, there are many different types of vinegar, offering a wide variety of flavors to use in cooking. To learn more about the origins, uses, and flavor properties of vinegars, visit Chef Carlo Lamagna’s “An Introduction to Vinegars” tutorial located at the bottom of the page.
Shrubs date back to 15th century England when the drink gained popularity among smugglers wanting to avoid paying import taxes on spirits shipped from mainland Europe. The smugglers would sink barrels of alcohol into the ocean and retrieve them later. This resulted in alcohol that was often spoiled by saltwater. To mask the briny, ocean flavors, they added fruit flavored shrubs.
Before refrigeration, making shrubs was a way of extending the life of fresh fruit. Piling fruit into a big crock with sugar produced bright, aromatic juice that would ferment into vinegar after a few weeks.
The words “shrub”, “sherbet” and “syrup” all come from the same Arabic word root, "sharboh", which means “a drink.”