Demystifying “Shrub”

Years ago neighbors gave us a pint of “blackberry shrub”, and told us to mix it with ginger ale for a refreshing drink (which it was).  We never got a recipe, or thought much about it, but last month I went to a booksigning for a canning book and they served “rhubarb shrub” with Proseccu and I decided to check out some recipes.  Basically, a shrub is made up of fruit juice, sugar and vinegar and before refrigeration it was a handy way to preserve your fruit.   But it seems that this staple of colonial times is gaining in popularity again.  Actually creating and drinking fancy vinegars seems to be happening worldwide and vinegar sommeliers can be found as far away as Japan and Korea.  But close to home, Pennsylvania’s Tait Farms offers an assortment of shrub concoctions as well.

First thing I found was a New York Times Magazine article titled “Dropping Acid“, which caught my attention and provides a nice history of this ancient beverage.  Also included was a basic recipe for any kind of fruit shrub.

Turns out that the real connoisseurs of shrub recipes are the “cocktail geeks” and I came across an interesting and funny article called Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups.  This also included a recipe  as well as links to other resources

I had no idea that shrubs were that popular, nor versatile.   But what fun we will have experimenting with this one!