this week’s contributor is andrea from the maiden metallurgist. i first discovered drea’s blog on apartment therapy, what has to be at least three years ago now. i loved it and followed it and soon found out her and i have many similarities (she moved from denver to chicago to be w her hubby and i moved from chicago to denver to be w mine, for one). we both had babies around the same time and both give a lot of real estate on our blogs to talking about motherhood, marriage, home, and how awesome our little ones are. we’ve gotten together in denver a couple of times and, let me tell you, this woman is not only an excellent writer, but also intelligent, thoughtful, fun, and honest.
since her and her hubby bought a home outside chicago, they’ve become avid gardeners and she’s diligent about using her goods to the fullest. today she talks about what she does w her produce (and what she buys at the farmers’ market) to make refreshing summer drinks.
Shrub, aka drinking vinegar, is my summertime obsession. The drinking vinegar is infused with fruit (and at times herbs and spices) for use in mixed drinks.
The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. In our home, we keep a variety of shrubs on hand for quick-mixing sodas or cocktails. The flavor both mellows (the vinegar) and becomes deeper (the fruit) the longer it sits in the fridge. It might sound weird, drinking vinegar, but it is so refreshing and cool.
I like to make different drinking vinegars seasonally with what we grow in the garden or what I find at the farmers market. Or, if it’s too early in the season for fresh local fruits, whatever looks good in the organic section at the grocery store.
My basic recipe for shrub is equal parts fruit, sugar, and vinegar of your choice. Macerate the fruit and sugar for several hours letting the sugar draw out the fruit’s’ juices, then add the vinegar and let sit overnight. The next day, strain and discard the fruit pulp (or serve over ice cream, yum) and reserve the infused vinegar. Combine with seltzer, gin, vodka, white wine, champagne or prosecco… use your imagination!
The beauty of shrub is that there are enough combinations of fruits, vinegars, and herbs/spices to keep your mouth excited all season long. And, if you plan ahead, well into the winter.
Shrub 101- basic fruit shrubs
- Raspberry and champagne vinegar
- Blueberry and apple cider vinegar
- Strawberry and champagne or balsamic or white balsamic vinegar
- Rhubarb and white wine vinegar
- Stone fruit (peach, plum, nectarine) and apple cider vinegar
- Blackberry and red wine vinegar
- Mango and rice vinegar
- Pineapple with coconut vinegar
- Grapefruit and white wine vinegar
- Watermelon and white wine vinegar
Shrub 102- now add some depth
- Herbal- Mint, Rosemary, Lemon verbena, Basil, Tarragon
- Floral- Elderflower, Violet, Rose, Lavender
- Spicy- Peppercorns, Ginger
thanks, drea! i am so glad you introduced me to something i had absolutely never heard about. i am looking forward to trying a few concoctions myself this summer.
if you are interested in contributing to A Denver Home Companion, please submit original writing (or ideas!) to emily [at] adenverhomecompanion [dot] com. though i may not be able to publish everything, i certainly consider all of them!