Shouldn’t every gardener have a drink in his or her back pocket called a shrub? The name alone is golden, but a shrub makes awesome use of your backyard bounty. What’s a shrub? Basically, it’s a mixture of fruit, shugar (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and vinegar that is used as a base for your drink.
You take it to cocktail land with a zippy spike of liquor or finish it with just sparkling water for a distinctive (non-alcoholic) thirst quencher. This strawberry shrub was at our Easter brunch and from what I can remember (we went the zippy route) it garnered rave reviews.
When you have berries or fruit growing gangbusters in your garden later in the year remember this recipe. For now, it’s been put to use on those stragglers in the bottom of the strawberry carton. You know, the ones that look a little sad? Chop them up, mix with sugar and you have the start of a shrub. From that base, mix in some vinegar; I’m partial to using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar because it’s a local company and touts amazing health benefits. My thinking is the the apple cider vinegar balances out the gin, correct?
4-8 drinks (see note below)
2 cups strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
In a bowl, mix the strawberries and sugar and store in the fridge covered for 24 hours. Stir and mash with a fork twice during that time span. Strain the mixture into a jar and mix in the vinegar. The strawberries left behind in the strainer are delicious. You can use those as garnish in your drink or as my mom so smartly suggested, smash on some buttered toast.
Note: It depends the juicy quotient of your berries are and how long you let them sit in the fridge as to how much juice you will get when you strain. I extracted 3/4 cup liquid (6 ounces) of strawberry juice, mixed with the vinegar made enough for about six drinks.
1.5-ounce strawberry shrub
1-ounce gin or bourbon (optional)
Mint and fresh strawberries for garnish
In a double old-fashioned glass, fill with ice and add the shrub and gin. Top with sparkling water and garnish. Serve.