Soooo, I was chatting with Katharine (my right hand gal), about how I wanted to create an unusual and festive beverage for the Holiday season. And she immediately said, “What about a Shrub??” Katharine has just turned thirty, and frequents edgy bars and restaurants in Downtown LA – so she sure knows a thing or two about what’s trending in the food and drink scene. Rather embarrassed, I admitted that I had no idea what she was talking about. “A schrrrrruuub – they’re the so delicious!” she exclaimed, before explaining the whole concept to me.
A “Shrub” is basically a fruit-infused vinegar, to which you add either sparkling water, or alcohol. The more I read about shrubs, the more excited I got. I realized that it’s a kind of cross between a cordial or syrup, and a Kombucha. It’s both sweet and tart – a combo that I love in any beverage.
Shrubs date back to the Colonial era when fruits, spices and herbs were preserved in vinegar and sugar. The word shrub is derived from the Arabic word sharab, which means “to drink.”
I began to get very excited about the possible combos that I could experiment with. My head started spinning with ideas: Cranberry Sage, Kumquat Lime, Blackberry Thyme, Apple Cinnamon, and Pineapple Ginger Turmeric. I experimented with every single one of these combinations, and since you leave them out on the counter for a week to percolate, my kitchen became a little unmanageable to say the least of things. But it was worth my husband’s irritation (zero counter space), because the results were stunning.
A Shrub is a really healthy drink too – the herbs and spices have tremendous benefits, such as the anti-inflammatory properties of the ginger and turmeric. And they’re immune-boosting too.
Our all-time favorite is the Pineapple Ginger Turmeric, so here’s the recipe.
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
- 1 cup fresh ginger root, scraped and sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh turmeric root, scraped and sliced (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns + 3 twist of ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, muddled and/or roughly chopped
- 2 cups brown sugar (or sugar-free syrup)
- 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (unpasteurized), like Braggs
1. Cut up fruit, roots, spices, and or veggies into small chunks
2. If using ginger and/or turmeric root, scrape off skin with a spoon, then slice.
3. If using herbs, roughly chop or muddle them to release oils
4. Place 2 cups of fruits, roots, spices, and herbs in a non-reactive bowl.
5. Add 2 cups of sugar (or non-sugar syrup). Mix well. Cover with clean dish towel.
6. Leave for about 12 hours, or overnight.
7. Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, cover with clean dish towel.
6. Leave on counter top or in pantry for 2 – 7 days, stirring daily. If it’s hot out, you may need to place it in the fridge overnight.
7. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve or colander.
8. Pour into a sterilized Mason Jar or Mason Jar bottle. Store for up to 6 months in the fridge.