I absolutely love stuff like this! It’s when the history nerd in me meets the foodie nerd and they give each other a high-five.
Have you ever heard of a shrub? Nope, I am not talking about a bush that grows in your front yard. This is a shrub of another sort. This is a summery concoction that quenches your thirst in the most delightful way, and dates back so many years that Martha Washington had her own personal recipes for parties. Yep, that’s right. This is a beverage that even the first president of these United States drank. Kind of whimsical to think that on a blistery hot summer day, you are cheering with a glass that President George Washington enjoyed pre-airconditioning!
What I love about a shrub is that it is delightfully simple to make, but offers up a wonderful complexity that brings out the most amazing fresh taste to the fruit.
Despite the sugar content, this is a very healthy drink. It may look like a lot, but when all is said and done, you will only be using a tablespoon or two of the shrub to flavor your sparkling water or cocktail. The healthful aspect comes from the slight fermentation of the fruit, and the unfiltered Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. The health benefits of ACV have become wildly popular of late, but my favorite story was hearing of my friend’s great grandmother who drank a shot of ACV every night and lived past 100 years of age! Anything that improves my heart, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood sugar, reduces belly fat and helps me loose weight is alright in my book.
The task is simple, and you can play with all sorts of fruits. Combine one pound of fruit and two cups of sugar, then mash them up.
I added a cup of fresh basil to add a little more zest to my shrub!
Then, simply cover it up and let it sit on the countertop overnight to do a gentle bit of fermenting.
The last step is to add two cups of apple cider vinegar to the mix, and then refrigerate. Feel free to sieve out any of the big pieces of fruit, if you desire.
To serve, simply add 1-2 tablespoons of the shrub to a glass with ice and pour over with some sparkling water like S. Pellegrino. Then sit back and be refreshed…and maybe give a gentle nod-0f-a-cheers to Martha Washington and good old George.
Let us know if you play with any other flavor profiles with this recipe. I am thinking of playing with fresh peaches, now that they are in season and tasting out-of-this-world. This is one of the BEST ways to preserve that summertime flavor and make it last a little longer.
- 1 lbs fresh strawberries
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- sparkling water
Wash your fresh berries and basil. You can either mash them together with the sugar by hand in a large bowl, or use a food processor. Pour the strawberry mixture into a glass container that you can seal or cover while it hangs out on the counter overnight. This allows the fruit to gently ferment.
After the mixture has waited at room temperature overnight, add two cups of apple cider vinegar to the mix. I love unfiltered apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg's. Give it a good stir (you can even sieve out some of the whole pieces if you desire), and then store it in the fridge until needed.
To make a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage, combine 1-2 tablespoons of your shrub mixture into a glass. Then, top it off with sparkling water, such as S. Pellegrino. Feel free to jazz things up a bit with a splash of vodka, gin, or tequila for a refreshing summer cocktail!