The Revival of the Shrub

shrub1Lately in the Twist kitchen we’ve been playing with shrubs, and no, we’re not talking about the bushes outside. A shrub is a drinking vinegar, often paired with alcohol and soda for a delicious refreshing cocktail.

Shrubs have been consumed for centuries all over the world. From Asia, where shrubs were used as a nutritious health tonic, to Europe, where sailors would drink shrubs to prevent scurvy. Shrubs gained popularity in colonial America as an alternative to citrus and as a way to preserve fruits all year long. Using vinegar meant that these drinks had a significantly longer shelf life than other products. With the invention of the refrigerator, shrubs eventually fell out of fashion – That is, until just a few years ago when a resurgence in the popularity of shrubs emerged in bars and restaurants.

Not only are shrubs delicious, but they also have a wide array of health benefits, from lowering blood sugar and protecting our hearts, to killing bad breath and balancing our pH levels.

If you aren’t convinced yet to try shrubs, what if I told you they taste DELICIOUS with alcohol! That’s where Twist comes in.
Here are some of our favorite shrub cocktail recipes. Give them a try, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

Summer Fruit Shrub

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ pounds ripe fruit (such as peaches, strawberries, plums, or pineapple)
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 6 ounces spirit of choice
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces vodka or gin

Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slice fruit into medium pieces. Reserve a few pieces for serving and add remaining to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain syrup into a bowl; stir in vinegar. Cover and chill shrub.shrub

For each cocktail, shake 2 oz. shrub, 1½ oz. spirit of choice,  2 oz. vodka or gin, and ½ oz. lemon juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until frosty. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass; top with some reserved fruit.

The Shrubarb

  1. For the ginger-rhubarb shrub:
    • 2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/4″ pieces (about 6 cups)
    • 1 (7-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, cut into 1/4″ coins (about 1/4 cup)
    • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  2. For each cocktail:
    • 2 ounces gin
    • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
    • Club soda (for serving)
  1. For the ginger-rhubarb shrub:
    1. Combine rhubarb, ginger, vinegar, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely broken down and strands are visible, 10–15 minutes.
    2. Using a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth, strain mixture into a glass container. Let cool to room temperature, then chill.
  2. For each cocktail:
    1. Combine gin, lime juice, and 1 1/2 ounces reserved ginger-rhubarb shrub in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled Collins-style glass, filling three-quarters full. Top off with club soda.
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