How To Make Cocktail Shrubs
So a shrub in the cocktail world is not a leafy, green thing but a flavoured vinegar, usually made with fruit.
Born of times when pickling was rife to preserve food, the cocktail world has inherited something amazing.
The sweet and tart profile of a cocktail shrub, as well as the fruit flavour, is something to behold. It is also a brilliant cocktail ingredient or even an alternative soft drink when the shrub is mixed with cold water…delicious.
How To Make Cocktail Shrubs?
So the process is simple for making a shrub, essentially its fruit would be soaked in vinegar and pickled over time.
Science would then kick in and the flavour of the fruit (and its sweetness) would be drawn into the vinegar. Now this process take a bit too long, so we turn to the hot method.
Speeding up the process and actually creating better-flavoured shrubs, its best to simmer the fruit in the vinegar for a few minutes before filtering the fruity liquid through a muslin (to remove all of the bits and bobs)
It’s then a case of adding sugar to taste to find that perfect balance of sweet and sour. Use a 1:1:1 ratio between sugar/fruit/vinegar.
In general, most vinegar is fine and each will add its own flavour profile.
Most opt for a red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar – dependant of the fruit.
For instance, we tend to pair red wine vinegar with dark or red fruits such as strawberries and white wine vinegar with lighter fruits such as pineapples or mango.
Hot Shrub Method
- Simmer vinegar and fruit for a few minutes
- Strain the liquid through a muslin or filter to remove the bits
- Place liquid back in the pan and add sugar.
- Dissolve slowly overheat before cooling and bottling up.
- Shrubs tend to have a 3-4 month shelf life if refrigerated.
Strawberry & Mint Shrub Recipe
This delicious recipe, pairing mint and strawberries will make you approximately 1 litre of shrub. This is great as an alternative lime/sugar base for a Mojito.
450g Strawberries (hulled and halved)
50g Mint Leaves
500g White Granulated Sugar
500g Red Wine Vinegar
- Add the vinegar and fruit to a large pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cool and strain the mixture through a sieve, muslin or another filter to remove all of the bits from the liquid.
- Replace the strained liquid back into the pan, add the sugar and warm gently to dissolve the sugar.
- Leave to cool and taste the shrub to ensure the correct balance of sweet and sour.
- Bottle and refrigerate.
How To Enjoy Shrubs In Drinks
Shrubs can be enjoyed in a huge amount of ways, added to cocktail and cocktails for a sweet and sour base that adds a great depth of flavour.
Alternatively, its great as a cordial and can be topped with ice-cold water or sparkling water.
To get some cocktail recipe inspiration of for more tips, hacks and article check out The Cocktail Hub.