A shrub is not only a leafy bush – it also refers to an old-time soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar.
As it happens – by using maple syrup as a sweetener, the drink is rich in electrolytes and was drunk by thirsty field workers after a hot day’s work to restore their strength. It can, by dint of this fact, thus be classified as the first American “sports drink”. 🙂 Vermont residents to this day still enjoy drinking shrub, in fact!
Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks. My version of a shrub is actually a hybrid with switchel, another colonial drink made of water mixed with vinegar, and seasoned with ginger. For additional health and flavor complexity, I also use a unique blend of cider vinegar infused with 14 herbs and spices made by the Amish and called “Yoder’s Good Health Recipe”. Buy Yoder’s Good Health Recipe at the link.
…and why is mine specific to Vermont? Simple – the maple syrup and the long, proud tradition of both shrubs and switchel in the green mountain state!
Citizens, Vermont shrub is a most refreshing and delicious beverage that deserves your careful and measured consideration! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
The Hirshon Vermont Shrub
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