Thursday, August 15, 2013

We Want A Shrubbery!

I'm a curious kind of guy. I've been told that I ask too many questions; just ask my fiancee. I just feel that there is a lot of information out there to be had. Why not try to grasp it? So, in my unquenchable thirst for knowledge, pun intended, I found shrubs. No. Not the shrubs that The Knights Who Say Ni want. These are shrubs that you can drink.

In this post, I am just going to show you the basics of shrubbing. I want you to develop your own fruit combinations and add your own spices and herbs if you wish.

Otherwise known as "drinking vinegars", shrubs essentially come in two forms, alcoholic and non alcoholic. Alcoholic shrubs most likely originated from the medicinal cordials of the 1500's or thereabout. They were another vehicle to medicate one's ailments back in the day. The non-alcoholic shrubs would be more closely related to canning fruit and preserves. The basic ingredients of the shrubs I'm referring to in this post are vinegar, fruit, some sort of sweetener and/or spices. If made well, they have a great balance between sweet and sour. As with anything that I do, I like to find ways to simplify recipes for you lazy bastards out there. So, this is it:

16 oz Fresh Fruit (your choice) or frozen if you're REALLY lazy
2 cups White Refined Granulated Sugar (like Domino's)
Apple Cider Vinegar Unfiltered and Unpasteurized (Bragg's)
herbs and spices (optional)

Cut up your fruit into small cubes and add them to a bowl. If you are using small berries like blueberries, just press on them to get them to burst a bit. Pour the sugar on top and give it a good mixing until the sugar starts to coagulate and get stick with fruit just. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and throw it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, give it a good stir again. You will
These are peaches in sugar - 2nd day
notice that the sugar is turning into a syrup with some residual sugar granules. This is good. Throw it in the fridge again. Stir it again later on that night. By the time you get to it the next day, most of the sugar should be dissolved. Filter out the fruit and pour the sugar syrup into a jar. Add an equal amount of vinegar to the syrup. Seal the jar & shake. If you wanted to add spices like cinnamon, clover, fresh elderflower, another fruit, this would be the time. A spice bag would be helpful. Let rest for another couple of days. Remove spice bag. If you still have some granulated sugar on the bottom, shake again until dissolved. Now you're ready to drink it! Shrubs should last several months. Due to the sugar and acid in the shrub, the flavors will get better as the weeks roll by.

You can try a sip straight up. It's pretty powerful and will induce a funny face with a involuntary shaking of the head. A fresh, delicious and fun way to enjoy your new shrub is to add it to club soda. 
These are not the shrubs you are looking for

Fill a Collins glass with ice.
Add 3/4 oz of Shrub
Top off with 5-6 oz Fever Tree Soda Water or Club soda
Gently stir.

In a cocktail developed by @BarstoolPhD:
Pyro In The Grove
1 1/4 oz Broker's Gin
1 oz Homemade Orange Curacao (Bol's or Ferrande is fine)
1/2 oz Strawberry Shrub
1/2 oz Aalborg Akvavit 
1/4 oz Ardbeg 10 year Islay Scotch (or any well peated Scotch)

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake until your hand freezes.
Shake for a few more seconds.
Double Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with an orange peel with oils expressed over the cocktail. 
Drop orange peel into cocktail

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