“Shrubs” have been around since colonial times but attention to local and seasonal fruits has revived their popularity. They begin with a gently cooked syrup of seasonal fruit, sugar and vinegar that’s mixed with club soda or used in a cocktail. Properly blended, it has a flavor that is both tart and sweet to quench a summer thirst and stimulate the appetite.
- 2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
- 3/4-1 cup cider vinegar unfiltered preferred
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Club soda
- Maple syrup optional
In a medium saucepan, bring the berries, vinegar and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Crush the berries when softened. Remove and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, pressing on the solids to extract more liquid. Place the liquid in a jar with a tightly sealed lid and refrigerate until chilled.
To make one serving, fill an 8-ounce glass with crushed ice. Add 2 tablespoons of the syrup and top with a ½ cup of club soda, stirring to blend. Stirring in small amounts of maple syrup is optional but can add more complexity as well as sweetness to the taste, if desired.
Makes about 2 cups syrup for about 16, 8-ounce beverages.
Photo by Jodi Miller