Blueberry-Lavender Shrub and Blackberry-Lime Shrub from SHRUBS: AN OLD-FASHIONED DRINK FOR MODERN TIMES by Michael Dietsch

A simple shrub is made from fruit, sugar, and … vinegar?

Raise your glass to a surprising new taste sensation for cocktails and sophisticated sodas: Shrubs.

Not the kind that grow in the ground, but a vintage drink mixer that will knock your socks off. “Mixologists across the country are reaching back through the centuries to reclaim vinegar’s more palatable past . . . embracing it as ‘the other acid,’ an alternative to the same-old-same-old lemons and limes,” said the New York Times . The history of shrubs, as revealed here, is as fascinating as the drinks are refreshing. These sharp and tangy infusions are simple to make and use, as you’ll discover with these recipes. Mix up some Red Currant Shrub for a Vermouth Cassis, or Apple Cinnamon Shrub to mix with seltzer, or develop your own with Michael Dietsch’s directions and photographs.

ShrubsCover

Michael Dietsch signs copies of  Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times at Omnivore Books on Food on Saturday, April 4 from 3-4pm. Free. Reprinted with permission from  Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch ©2014.

Published by Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Photographs copyright ©2014 by Michael Diestsch. Support EatDrinkFilms by purchasing  Shrubs through our affiliate links with Amazon and IndieBound, or at your local bookshop.

Horizontal Rule

DSC_8501

BLUEBERRY-LAVENDER SHRUB

I can usually smell lavender before I see it. The day I bought the lavender to develop this recipe was no exception. I was walking through the Union Square Greenmarket and caught a whiff. I looked around to find the stand that had herbs, and then finally located the lavender on a back table. Though the herb is pungent, it still complements the blueberries without being overwhelming.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8–10 lavender sprigs
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Process:

  1. Place blueberries and sugar into a medium bowl. Crush the berries, and then stir to combine.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Allow to macerate for up to 2 days.
  3. Meanwhile, place lavender into a nonreactive container, cover with cider vinegar, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 days. (The fridge is fine, but unnecessary.)
  4. Position a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and pour blueberry mixture through to remove solids.
  5. Strain vinegar mixture over the same mesh strainer, into same bowl as blueberry syrup. Allow to combine.
  6. You may have some sugar clinging to the berry solids in the strainer. If so, set the strainer with the solids over another small bowl. Pour the syrup-and-vinegar mixture over the solids to wash the sugar into the bowl. Repeat as needed.
  7. Pour syrup-and-vinegar mixture into a clean mason jar. Cap it, shake it well to incorporate any undissolved sugar, and place in the refrigerator for a week before using.
  8. Discard the solids or save them for another use.

 

BLACKBERRY-LIME SHRUB

I can’t explain why blackberries and lime work so well together, but holy cow. If you want to add yet another flavor to this shrub, try either mint or sage (but not both). Bruise the leaves and add them along with the blackberries, lime zest, and sugar. You might need to macerate the mixture for two days to allow the herbs to give off their flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • Zest of 4 limes
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Process:

  1. Place blackberries, lime zest, and sugar into a medium bowl. Crush the berries, and stir to combine.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Allow to macerate for a day.
  3. Position a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and pour the mixture through to remove the solids.
  4. Combine strained syrup with vinegar. Whisk well to incorporate any undissolved sugar.
  5. You may have some sugar clinging to the berry solids in the strainer. If so, set the strainer with the solids over another small bowl. Pour the syrup-and-vinegar mixture over the solids to wash the sugar into the bowl. Repeat as needed.
  6. Pour syrup-and-vinegar mixture into a clean mason jar. Cap it, shake it well to incorporate any undissolved sugar, and place in the refrigerator for a week before using.

Discard the solids or save them for another use.

For more on shrubs, check out “A Shrub Grows in Berkeley” by Risa Nye, from issue 48 of EatDrinkFilms.

Horizontal Rule

Michael Dietsch
Michael Dietsch is a writer, editor, and accidental bartender. He is a contributor at seriouseats.com and writes about spirits and cocktails at adashofbitters.com. When he’s not mixing drinks, he’s smoking meat, grilling vegetables, bicycling, or enjoying a fine cigar. Dietsch lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s