Are shrubs something that line your driveway? Perhaps, but they’re also a delicious sweetened vinegar-based syrup you use in drinks, over fruit, or anywhere a well-balanced fruit or herb-based syrup will add some pizzaz.
In America, shrubs originated in the colonial era as a means of preserving fruit in the off-season. By the 19th century, it was typical to pour vinegar over fruit – usually berries – and allow them to infuse overnight or for days. Afterward, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and reduced to make a syrup. When home refrigeration became the norm, Americans lost interest in shrubs.
With the cocktail revival movement, bartenders began experimenting with traditional recipes and in the last five or ten years, shrubs are back in vogue.
In honor of Rochester’s Cocktail Revival week, we featured two shrubs using F. Oliver’s sublime balsamics. Our guide and creator in this endeavor is Evan Clark of Bitter Honey. (Evan is in the foreground of the photo). Included are Evan’s take on a couple of classic cocktails but these shrubs are fabulous in still or sparkling water.
Evan's Honeyed Ginger Mint Shrub
This refreshing mint shrub is great in cocktails, with sparkling water, or iced tea.