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Basic Shrub Recipe
(recipe, Ellen Jackson)
All a shrub syrup needs is equal parts (by weight) ripe fruit, sugar, and vinegar. It’s helpful to have a scale to determine that the ingredients are all the same weight. But because shrub-making isn’t an exact science and personal taste is the key to success, use these guidelines instead if you don’t own a scale.
- 3 to 4 cups fresh fruit or vegetables, preferably organic, washed, stemmed, seeded, and cut in 1-inch chunks if necessary
- 2 to 2½ cups sugar
- 2 cups vinegar
- Aromatics (for herbs, several sprigs or a modest handful of leaves; for spice, 1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on strength/flavor)
- Combine the fruit and sugar in a wide-mouth glass jar. Use a muddler or wooden spoon to apply gentle yet firm pressure, enough to break up the fruit. Cover the jar with a lid or plastic wrap and let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least 5 or 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, add the vinegar and aromatics, stir until the sugar has dissolved, and return, covered, to a cool, dark spot (or the refrigerator) for a week or slightly longer, until the flavor is fully realized.
- After a week, or when the flavor is to your liking, press and strain the contents of the jar through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve, pressing lightly to release all of the liquid from the fruit. Store in a clean container in the refrigerator for another week, or until the flavor of the vinegar mellows and fades into the background.
- The shrub will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Serve it with sparkling or still water, over ice, or create your own cocktail by mixing the shrub with a spirit (gin, rum, or vodka), complementary liqueur, and bitters.