Throughout the South, you may be starting to see shrubs offered as one of the ingredients on a cocktail menu. They are my new favorite addition as they're fun to try and even more fun to make at home.
Shrubs are nothing new as their origin began way back in the 15th century. They came about in America in the 17th century when refrigeration was sparse and many wanted to find ways to preserve their summer berries and fruit...
The three main ingredients in a shrub are vinegar, sugar and fruit. Stirred into a drink, they offer incredible flavor. As stated on Serious Eats, "A proper shrub has a flavor that is both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst."
There are many ways to make shrubs. I chose the cold process method as I read the fruit flavor would be more intense. You can use any fruit as long as it's ripe with great flavor. I decided on blackberries, which seem to be plentiful at the market right now. Wash and prepare the fruit, then slightly crush with a wooden spoon.
Cover the fruit with sugar. (For every one cup of fruit, add one cup of sugar) Stir to combine, cover and place in your fridge.
After a minimum of several hours (I waited several days), take out your bowl of fruit and strain it. You'll notice a bunch of sugar settle at the bottom, but that's okay, it will soon dissolve. Next, add one cup of vinegar (Following the rule of one to one- so if you used one cup of fruit, use one cup of vinegar here) I used Champagne vinegar as I found here a great list of shrub flavor combinations for your desired fruit.
Whisk to combine, place in a mason jar with your own label and keep in fridge for up to six months. Shrubs mellow with time so you'll get a different taste on day one then you will on day 121. They go great in iced teas or you could add this shrub to soda water to make your own blackberry soda...
Or....since it's Friday, I decided to add mine to my favorite liquor, bourbon. I added a little ginger beer and some fresh basil. Damn. That's a good Friday cocktail. Learn more on how to make your own shrubs here (they make excellent hostess gifts too).
*Research online to find which bars in your town are making their own shrubs. In Atlanta, I really like the concoctions served up at Family Dog and Proof & Provision. Find some fun home recipes here from Atlanta based, Shrub & Co.
Photos: Sweet Peach, Richard Perry- NY Times, Shrub & Co, sweet-travel.blogspot.com Content: Sweet Peach