A shrub is a fruit-flavored vinegar that can be enjoyed in cocktails and adds a refreshing, tart dimension with every sip. It can also be enjoyed by stirring some into soda water for a sweet and sour thirst quencher.
Americans first used shrubs in the 18th century as a way of preserving fruit; today, they’re used in cocktails, dressings, or to flavor your soda or mineral water. Made correctly, a shrub is the right balance of vinegar, fruit and sweeteners. Shrubs last for up to six months, so it is a great idea to turn passing fruits into shrubs. Here is a recipe for you to try at home. Remember, you can always substitute different types of fruit, vinegar, and sweeteners.
1 cup peeled, chopped quince
½ vanilla bean
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
Sterilize a 1-quart jar by submerging it in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Place the quince and vanilla in the jar. Heat the vinegar just to a boil and pour it into the jar. Cap the jar tightly. Store the jar in a cool dark place, for at least 4 days, shaking it daily. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavors will be. Strain the vinegar through a strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into the original, re-sterilized jar or another sterilized jar or bottle.
Store the shrub in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.