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”. 🙂
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”.
…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, this is a most refreshing and delicious beverage that deserves your careful and measured consideration! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
2 cups blackberries
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup grade A maple syrup
¼ cup (packed) mint leaves
¾ cup Yoder’s Good Health Recipe (preferred) or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
⅓ cup finely grated ginger
Zest the limes with a zester of microplane. In a bowl, muddle the zests l with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and wait for at least an hour.
Add the blackberries and mint to the sugar mixture and muddle the blackberries, expressing some of their juice. Add ginger.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer into the fridge. Let it sit for one day.
Remove the blackberry mix from the fridge, muddle the fruit even more, and then add the vinegar, lime juice, honey and maple syrup to the mix. Stir to integrate and dissolve the sugar. Strain the mixture through a chinois or a fine-mesh strainer into a clean Mason jar.
Store the shrub mixture in the refrigerator. Allow a few days for the flavors to meld, before enjoying. Shake before using.