You heard it here first – shrubs are the new ‘it’ thing.
“What is a shrub?” you say. Well it’s a type of syrup made from preserving fruits and vegetables with sugar and vinegar. They are also known as drinking vinegars.
Supposedly shrubs date back to the 18th century when they were mixed with water as an old-school soft drink or added to cocktails to enhance (or mask) the flavour of cheap liquor.
What I like about them is that you can use super ripe fruit or veges (as they are getting mushed up) so you can grab whatever is on sale and in season. I also like that the tang from the vinegar is really refreshing and doesn’t have the cloying sweetness of regular cordials and syrups. Try your shrubs mixed with fizzy water, sparkling wine or in cocktails.
I think this might become an addiction for me as I am already imagining all the awesome flavour combos that I can try – lemon and thyme, rhubarb and star anise, tomato and basil, apparently even kale makes a great shrub. So what are you waiting for? Time to get shrubbing!
Strawberry and sorrel shrub
250g strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup chopped sorrel leaves (you can leave these out if you can’t find sorrel, it will still be super tasty)
1/2 cup raw sugar
apple cider vinegar to cover
Place the strawberries, sorrel and sugar in a clean jar. Crush with the end of a rolling pin or wooden spoon. Pour over enough vinegar to cover the fruit. Seal and set aside in a cool, dark spot for one week. Strain the liquid into a clean bottle. Serve with fizzy water or in a cocktail.
Makes aprox. 1 1/2 cups
oOo The vinegar keeps the shrub shelf stable so there is no need to refrigerate it.
oOo For more info on shrubs check out this great article.
Strawberry and rosewater fizz
(Inspired by the Sundown Cooler recipe in the latest Feast Magazine)
1/4 cup strawberry and sorrel shrub
2 tablespoons gin
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon rosewater
ice cubes and mint sprig
Combine the shrub, gin, lemon juice, rosewater, ice and mint in a glass. Add soda water to taste.