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Chris Amirault

Shrubs

55 posts in this topic

What is it?

2 Cups Rhubarb Stems Chopped

1/2 Cup Washed Raw Sugar

1/4 Cup Bariani Balsamic Vinegar

4 Cups Water

What will it be?


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I went to the Japan Alps for a conference a few days back, and while I was there bought an "Apricot Vinegar Drink". It was an apricot vinegar plus apricot juice - very good.

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What is it?

2 Cups Rhubarb Stems Chopped

1/2 Cup Washed Raw Sugar

1/4 Cup Bariani Balsamic Vinegar

4 Cups Water

What will it be?

Answer: something I'll make this weekend. Also plan to whip up a batch of as-yet-undetermined berry shrub roughly following Neyah White's recipe here.

Cherries are abundant at the farmer's market right now, and more stone fruits are popping up every day. All seem very shrubbable.


 

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What will it be?

The makings of a mind-blowing rhubarb bourbon sour? No wait, a gin fizz? No wait, a Margarita-like tequila sour? No wait, Aperol and seltzer? The stuff sounds fantastic.

Curiosity and impatience make poor bedfellows.


Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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So far no real fermentation action in the rhubarb vinegar/shrub/whatever, but some of the comments on the Diana Kennedy fruit vinegar that Rancho Gordo made indicated it might take a while. It's also not been real warm in Bernal Heights this week.

A commented on my Savoy Shrub Post remarked that shrub and sherbert share the same linguistic root.

Michael Lazar:

I also did a little etymological research and believe that we get our word ‘shrub’ from the Persian ‘sharbat’ which are a class of syrups usually made from fruit preserved with some citrus. Apparently the word ‘sherbert’ also comes from ‘sharbat’ in as much as the syrups were/are served over ice.

And, of course, the syrup base made for punch is typically called a "sherbert".

I'm still wondering about the vinegar.


Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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One difference I was thinking about, syrups are typically hot process, as Christian Schultz notes, taken to "little pearl" stage of sugar concentration in the syrup.

Whereas the syrups created for punch bases are not typically that saturated. You might pour hot tea over the sugar to dissolve, but you'd never concentrate it to soft ball.

Is it the same for old shrub recipes?

Maybe that's why the vinegar and/or booze are needed as preservative.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Update on Rhubarb and Balsamic Shrub/Vinegar.

Well, it never really went through an active fermentation stage, but it looks there is a mother formed and working away.

I guess the Balsamic vinegar was really alive.

Smells great.


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Just did a simple shrub post. I tired a number of old recipes and found most of them too vinegar forward for my liking -- the fruit either got lost or had to compete too much. The "simple" version I came up with may not be historically kosher, but I think it makes for a more balanced drink, both virgin wise and with alcohol.

I tried to dig up a lot of history too. If you're interested: http://12bottlebar.com/2011/06/17/simple-shrubs/

Erik, have you started with any gastrique recipes and tried to move them into the shrub camp? How'd the rhubarb come out?


Edited by 12BottleBar (log)

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Erik, have you started with any gastrique recipes and tried to move them into the shrub camp? How'd the rhubarb come out?

Sadly, the rhubarb vinegar never really did anything and then developed a mold problem.

I've never been over fond of gastrique.

I was talking to feste a bit about this, she definitely has more insight than I, but it seems the best way to think of a shrub is in the context of a pre-prepared mix or bottled base for the preparation of punch. The reason for the vinegar isn't so much that vinegar is necessary for a shrub, but that acid is necessary for preservation and the balance of the drink. Citrus just wasn't as easy to come by, so other things were used, from chemical acids to vinegars.

It isn't a coincidence that the combination of sugar, acid, and water that is used as base for punch is also called "shrub".


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The impression I got from my research was a) vinegar, like lemon juice, was considered healthful; and b) people liked how the vinegar helped them beat the heat. On this latter point, I didn't dive into colonial temperatures, but I found notes that talk about how people liked to drink vinegar -- even over rum -- especially as it helped keep them cool.

The reason I question the preservative angle as being the exclusive one (from a very, very layman point of view) is that many other methods for preserving fruit were know at the time. I just flipped through my copy of the Good Housewife's Jewel (1596) and there are a number of preservation recipes in there (for quinces, oranges, etc.). By the 1700s, cream of tartar was around and was being recommended as a preservative. There also seem to have been a good deal of citrus around -- they were even growing trees aboard some ships -- but I agree that vinegar would last longer. Wondrich backs up the "lack of citrus, so they substituted" position, of course, and I reserve the right to be completely wrong.

I can certainly see the colonial mindset to create and bottle shrubs when the fruit was most ripe. It's certainly a fascinating subject.


Edited by 12BottleBar (log)

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Made a nice rhubarb version using the one day soak (actually two, because I forgot about it) of the fruit in the vinegar. Equal parts chopped rhubarb, white wine vinegar (with a dash of balsamic), and white sugar. Much better results than with the Felton-City Tavern raspberry recipe.

I tried it mixed 1 part shrub to 4 parts club soda and was quite happy with the results.

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Just finished a big batch of blackberry shrub. Had a gigantic bag of blackberries from last summer taking up way too much real estate in my freezer. I dropped the whole gallon bag of frozen berries into a big pot, covered with approximately 2 cups of white balsamic vinegar as well as a couple of ounces of regular balsamic and let it sit overnight. Stirred it up just a few times. Buzzed it all through the blender and then pushed it through a fine mesh strainer twice. 2 cups water and two cups sugar added and brought to a bare simmer. Allowed to cool. Tastes delicious. I need to make a cocktail with it. I'm thinking tequila or gin, but rum might be good too. Will report back.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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That sounds like it would be great in an adapted Bramble. Or Bourbon?


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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So I made an uncooked Peach Shrub. I was lucky enough to have picked up some Peach Balsamic in Florida and used it with turbinado sugar and fresh peaches; 6 over ripe peaches, 1 cup of sugar and .5 cup of Peach Balsamic and .5 cup of Cane Vinegar. It sat for about a week.

Tonight was

2oz Bulleit Bourbon

1oz Peach Shrub

1oz Cocchi Americano

Shaken and up.

I am thinking about adding basil. It is really good, but it could use some nuance.

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Apologies for the lousy photo. Now that all has cooled and been bottled there's these two bottles and one more larger spring topped bottle in the fridge. Tried it tonight with both tequila and rum and it's quite tasty. Also good as a non-alcoholic refresher with Ruby Red Grapefruit seltzer and a squeeze of lime. Looking forward to playing with it with the batch of Szechuan peppercorn syrup that's cooling on the stove right now.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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This sounds interesting:

Tessmanian Devil

by Tess Posthumus, Door 74, Amsterdam, Netherlands

3/4 oz Gin, Beefeater

3/4 oz Strega

3/4 oz Aromatized wine, Lillet Blanc

3/4 oz Lemon juice

1 ds Hot sauce, Tabasco

1 ds Cayenne pepper

1 ds Bitters, Bitter Truth Creole

1 sli Chili pepper (red, as garnish)

Shake, double-strain, straight up, chilled cocktail glass, garnish.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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I have just bought some Bittermans Habanero Shrub. Aside from OF variations and Bloody Marys, what can I do with it?

I tried this from the Bittermens site, really good stuff:

The 700 Songs Gimlet

The Shanty at New York Distilling Company, Brooklyn, NY

1.5 oz NY Distilling Co. Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/4 oz cinnamon syrup

5 drops
Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I used Plymouth Navy instead and I assume another half-ounce could be added for a non-navy strength gin and it would still be good.

I also did a simple margarita variation:

1 oz blanco tequila

1 oz mezcal

1 oz Cointreau

.75 oz lime

Dash Habanero shrub

Shake, strain, coupe. Enjoyed that one as well.

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This thread deserves a bump. With all the cocktail threads on eG I would have thought more people would be shrubbing.  I made my first and only shrub recently using mostly plums and a lone peach by the cold-process method. It's very good! My husband has been adding it to our standard Manhattans and that's good too.

 

Now I've discovered a new use for a shrub, although it's not in an alcoholic drink. This spring I've been making a lot of compotes and flavored applesauce, especially with rhubarb, which is terrific in combo with apples. But the rhubarb is going to be gone soon, so I'm experimenting with ways to jazz up my applesauce. Lo and behold.....shrub! Today I cooked apples with just a few strawberries that were getting very ripe, added a stick of cinnamon, half a vanilla bean, almost a half a cup of red wine and a drizzle of cassis. It needed more liquid without rhubarb,  (and less sugar of course). Judy Rodgers, in her recipe for roasted applesauce, splashes in some vinegar at the end to brighten it up. So when my applesauce was almost done I added a glug of my shrub. Delicious. Really! I've always added a squirt of lemon juice to plain applesauce, but this is way better. Mmm, a great breakfast, lunch or dinner could be made with shrubby applesauce and potato pancakes. 

 

Do you have some novel ways to use shrubs?

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We had a bunch of strawberries in the fridge that weren't going to get eaten so I made a strawberry/cardamom shrubb over the weekend. Followed the Neyah White procedure in Jeff Morganthaler's new book, using a 2 hr room temp maceration of berries/cardamom w/ brown sugar (2cps), then overnight in the fridge, add 2cps Bragg apple cider, let sit for a little over 24hrs, strain, filter.

 

Used it in a very refreshing peach bourbon smash last night.


@AZBittersLab

AZBittersLab.com

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Michael Dietsch has a new book on Shrubs that will be coming out in a few months. He had written a couple of detailed articles for Serious Eats on this topic: How to make shrub syrups, More complex shrub syrups.

 

This winter I made a pear shrub but haven't shrubbed since then. Maybe it's time to revisit.

 

 

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I made a shrub of greengage, known as janarik in Levantine Arabic and gojeh in Iraqi Arabic and Persian. It is the epitome of seasonal fruits, appearing for only a few weeks in late spring.* It's essentially a tiny, tart, firm green plum with a delicate flavor. In my quest to invent Middle Eastern flavored cocktails I made a cold-processed shrub of it (pitting the gojeh was a GIGANTIC pain in the ass...). After a month or so of aging, the flavor has emerged, and it's delicate but quite nice.

 

 

Incidentally, shrub is also an Arabic word...

 

 

 

ETA: I guess there are two epitomes: gojeh and loquat, known in Arabic variably as akidinya or eskidunya (from the Turkish meaning "old world," which is odd, because in Turkey, loquats are known as yeni dünya, or "new world." These are also highly seasonal, and at least in Lebanon appear EVERYWHERE for about 3 weeks. Sadly the ones I've seen brought to the East Coast of the US (I presume from California) are disappointing. Fresh, ripe loquat is probably the tastiest thing ever...


Edited by Hassouni (log)

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I was inspired by my current lack of lemons and limes(cash flow is quite tight until my upcoming paycheck) to use the shrubs I have had sitting around in my fridge. I find shrubs difficult to work with, something about the balance eludes me. Anyway, I had some cold green tea left over from a less successful experiment, and thought it would work nicely in a punch esque operation with some Batavia Arrack. But I had no citrus, so I tossed in my autumn apple shrub, which I made last fall with apples, apple cider vinegar, as well as cloves and allspice and I believe cinnamon. I must admit, it turned out rather splendidly. I did not measure exactly except for the Arrack but I imagine it was about 1.5 oz arrack, 3 oz of tea, and about .75 oz of shrub.

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