Two Shrubs

We happened upon our first shrub (the drink) on a visit to Washington, D.C. a few years ago while lunching at America Eats Tavern. The shrub is a throwback to our Colonial American past. The English settlers preserved fruits and berries in vinegar for the off-season and those fruit infused vinegars were strained, mixed with sugar, and reduced into a syrup before being stirred into cold water or booze to create a refreshing drink.

Now that spring has finally arrived, the markets will be filling up with strawberries and rhubarb. Putting up jars of them now, packed in vinegar, will yield tart, fruity bases for thirst-quenching coolers in the summer months to come.

If you’re like us, you can’t help but buy more berries than you can eat while still at their best. Creating shrub syrups puts all those juicy berries to delicious, good old-fashioned use!

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Strawberry Shrub
2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup ultra fine sugar
1 cup of red wine vinegar

Place the strawberries in a clean, sterilized jar with sugar. Smash strawberries with a muddler (a bartender’s pestle). Add vinegar and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 4 weeks.

Strain the liquid into a clean sterilized container. Refrigerate up to 4 weeks or more.

Rhubarb Shrub

2 cups fresh chopped rhubarb
1 cup ultra fine sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 white wine vinegar

Add the chopped rhubarb, sugar, and rice vinegar to a sauce pan over low to medium heat. Smash the rhubarb using a muddler as the sauce heats. Once the sugar is dissolved, take the pan off the heat and muddle some more. Pour the liquid into a clean sterilized container and add the white wine vinegar. Allow to cool before closing the lid. Store in the fridge for at least 48 hours and up to 4 weeks.

Strain the liquid into a clean sterilized container. Refrigerate up to 4 weeks or more.

Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Cocktail

2 ounce good gin
1 ounce strawberry shrub
1 ounce rhubarb shrub

Place some ice into a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and shrubs. Give the shaker a few good shakes. Stain into two chilled cocktail glasses. Top with sparkling rosé wine.


Inspiration for the recipes from:

Serious Eats; Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups
the kitchn; How To Make a Fruit Shrub Syrup
BuzzFeed; Here’s What You Should Be Drinking This Summer


The Super Moon made us do it

After a few of these you'll be howling at the moon too.

We’re technically “on” the wagon, but we’ve enjoyed a few recent lapses. There have been the occasional cold cocktails we’ve sipped in the evening, in spite of earlier pledges to go sans booze “tonight”. On Saturday, the day of the Super Moon, the Earth’s celestial companion had a strange effect on our psyches. We ate lightly throughout the day, we cleaned and inventoried the pantry and our plan for the evening was to enjoy a little tea and some chocolate chip cookies while watching Weeds. In other words, the usual. Alas, we got a little thirsty for something shaken and gave in to our martini craving. Maybe it was the gravitational tug of Saturday’s Super Moon or, more likely, our recent lapses that made us give in to our liquor cabinet. Being short on gin, we used equal parts gin and vodka (Mountain Moon Vodka, perfect for the night), shaken, and instead of the traditional green olive or lemon twist we garnished with a kalamata olive and blood orange zest. This twist on a martini recipe takes inspiration from the super perigee moon and one of our favorite cool weather flavor combinations – orange and olive.

We won’t wait for the next Super Moon before we have another one of these thirst quenching martinis, but it will be another few weeks at least before we take another sip of anything quite so boozy. After all, we’re still on the wagon.

Super Moon Martini

1 oz Moon Moutain Vodka
1 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
blood orange peel and kalamata olive for garnish

Add ice cubes to cocktail shaker, add booze, shake like hell, pour into chilled glass and garnish with blood orange peel and kalamata olives.