Archive | September, 2012

Make Shrubs (Drinking Vinegars)

17 Sep

peach shrub

One of the reasons that I love cocktails is that they’re fancy and delicious without being overly sweet (depending on which cocktails you choose to make, of course).  The alcohol or bitters or tonic is a nice way to balance the natural sweetness of fruit juice or the sugar in something like a simple syrup. But I often find myself wanting something to sip on that isn’t alcoholic, yet still possesses the balance of sweet/tart/strong that a cocktail has.  I love Kombucha, which is both uncloyingly sweet and tart and effervescent, but dude, that stuff is pricey.

I was thinking about this conundrum the other day and remembered reading about shrubs, or “drinking vinegars.”  Basically,  shrubs are vinegars that have been infused with fruit and sometimes sugar, which you can drink with sparkling water for a sweet and tart sparkling beverage.  I decided to try this with some Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, which, if you believe the customer reviews on Amazon, will cure a laundry list of ailments, from dandruff to allergies to problems with sleeping, and some fresh peaches.  It’s an acquired taste to be sure, and the taste is definitely more vinegar than peach, but I love the uber-tartness of it when I dilute it with some sparkling water. My sweetheart, on the other hand, can’t stand the stuff.  Give it a shot and see what you think.

vinegar and peaches, mid-infusion

Peach Shrub

  • 1 pound peaches
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 to 20 fresh basil leaves
  1. Halve, pit, and cut the peaches into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium, nonreactive bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and toss until the peaches are thoroughly coated and most of the sugar has dissolved. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days, checking after 1 day to make sure that all the sugar on the bottom has dissolved. (If the sugar hasn’t dissolved, toss again.)
  3. Add the vinegar and basil and stir to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.
  4. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the peach mixture, pressing on it with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to extract all of the liquid; discard the contents of the strainer. Transfer the peach shrub to a pint jar or container, cover with a tightfitting lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.  Drink with sparkling water over ice.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.


Cocktail of the Week: Bourbon+Rhubarb

4 Sep

A friend recently game me some rhubarb juice to experiment with, which made me very happy because I friggin love all things rhubarb.  I decided to pair it with bourbon, mostly because that’s what we had on hand, but also because I thought the earthy tartness of the rhubarb would work well with bourbon.  And I think I was right.  This drink is tart and a little sweet, with a kick.  Shawn and I enjoyed sipping them on the porch.

Bourbon+Rhubarb Cocktail

  • 2 oz rhubarb juice
  • 1 oz bourbon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sparking water or ginger ale

Pour rhubarb juice, bourbon, and lemon into a glass of ice and stir.  Top with sparkling water or ginger ale if you want to add some sweetness.

To Make Rhubarb Juice:

  • Chop washed rhubarb into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces.
  • Place chopped rhubarb in a large, non-reactive, pan.
  • Add just enough water to cover the rhubarb, bring to a boil, and then simmer on “low” until rhubarb is soft, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Strain the mixture through a very fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract the juice.
  • If you want to sweeten the juice, do so by adding about 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for each 2 lbs. of rhubarb.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity Page.