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


Strawberry Rosé Gummy Hearts

For Valentine’s day we decided to forgo the chocolate and make it all about strawberries and Rosé wine. On their own, strawberries and Rosé seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, add some gelatin and put them in a cute heart shaped mold and you have a yummy adult candy that’s mild in flavor but fun to eat. Keep the kids away from this one.

Strawberry Rosé Gummy Hearts

2 tablespoons dehydrated strawberries
1/4 cup ultra fine sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup Rosé wine
4 tablespoons gelatin (4 packets Knox gelatin)
1 tablespoon cranberry juice (or other red fruit juice), for coloring

Special equipment: heart shaped candy molds

In a blender add the dehydrated strawberries and sugar. Pulverize until the sugar and strawberries becomes a powder. Dust the candy molds with a little of the strawberry sugar, tapping out any excess sugar. Set aside the molds.

Add the rest of the strawberry sugar powder and corn syrup to a small sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In another pan, warm the Rosé wine to about 90 degrees (do not boil or you’ll burn off all the alcohol), slowly stir in the gelatin, try to avoid any foam or bubbles. Add the strawberry syrup and stir until combined. If the gelatin is still not dissolved, return to the stove, on very low heat, stirring gently, again to avoid foam and bubbles. Add cranberry juice and stir one more time.

Gently pour the gelatin in the prepared molds, if you’re careful the strawberry seeds will sink to the bottom of the pan and only the last few will have seeds, or you can disregard the last little bits of the batch. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Once set, remove the gummies from the molds.

Note: I attempted to make sour gummies with citric acid and also to dust the gummies with left over strawberry sugar. Both failed miserably. The sugar and citric acid just melted, becoming a gooey mess.

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