A shrub may sound like the thing you fall into after a few too many cocktails on your way home from the bar, but today we’re talking about a much sweeter, and less prickly, shrub. This kind of shrub is a chic addition to your bartending stockpile.
In mixology terms, a shrub is a homemade fruit flavored syrup made from three basic parts. The equation goes: sugar + fruit + vinegar = shrub
Shrubs are fantastic because you can make them with almost any fruit and personalize them to any flavor profile. To take your next dinner party from good to grand, create a signature cocktail with a shrub made from scratch.
It’s really quite simple. Pick your fruit, roughly chop it, and place it in a canning jar. Pour boiled vinegar over the top and let it sit in the fridge for at least a week or up to a month for a full infusion. Once you’re happy with the flavor, strain the macerated fruit, and reduce the vinegar with sugar, like you would make any homemade syrup. Then, after it’s cooled, add it it in a shaker set like so with your preferred liquor and ice and voila! Shrub cocktail completed.
Want to make a shrub but your fruit is past its prime? No problem. As long as it’s not too expired, you can use fruit a day or two overripe. The vinegar and sugar preserve the fruit, bottling up that summer flavor all the way to winter. Waste less and drink more? Sounds good to us. You can also make shrubs in big batches and store them in the fridge up to 3 months!
Fresh herbs are a great way to complete your shrub cocktail depending on the fruit of your choice. Thyme, sage, and mint add that earthy quality to round out the taste. But make sure ahead of time that the herb and fruit pairings are tried and true. Since the alcohol and ice will dilute it, it should be strong and flavorful and you don’t want to give a bad mouth feel from the wrong herb-fruit blend. If you’d like to make an orange shrub, cloves and cinnamon are a trusty combination to bring out the essence of the orange.
For a premium shrub, use fruit that is in season. Grapefruit with white cane sugar and white wine vinegar can make a delicious summery shrub option as well as melon and lemon shrubs. Try cantaloupe with lemon thyme, white cane sugar, and white wine vinegar.
Our favorite fall fruit is a lovely and unexpected guest at most dinner parties: the persimmon. Persimmons are prized for their sweet, mellow flavor drawn out with green chartreuse, a decadent liqueur made by monks. Our persimmon shrub cocktail, Never Learned to Share, is positively sinful. You’ll earn extra brownie points for using a seasonal fruit that most cocktail connoisseurs don’t know what to do with.
The first step of any meal or beverage is always the aroma. Enhance your guests experience by giving a final squeeze of lemon zest or slapping the sage against your palm before garnish to ignite that first sense.
Never Learned to Share
1.5 oz. gin
.75 oz. Persimmon shrub (see recipe below)
.25 oz. Green Chartreuse
.25 oz. lemon juice
Slice of fresh persimmon - charred
Add all liquid ingredients to mixing glass with ice
Stir for 20 seconds
Strain over ice into rocks glass
Garnish with charred persimmon slice and a couple sage leaves.
5 ripe Fuyu persimmons
2 to 3 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
Chop persimmons and add to sterilized canning jar. Pour in boiling vinegar, enough to cover the fruit. Let steep in fridge for 1 week to 1 month, depending on how strong you would like the flavor.
Strain through strainer and cheesecloth. Add strained mixture and sugar in a 1:1 ratio to pan and stir while heating to nearly a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool and enjoy in a Never Learned to Share. Store in fridge in tightly sealed, sterilized container for up to 3 months.
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