Tart and Tangy

Shrub Summer Cocktails

Vinegar plus sugar equals sweet and tangy syrup with savory undertones: Shrubs are the result of preserving fruit, vegetable or herbs in vinegar, then sweetening the mixture with sugar. A shrub lends acidity and sweetness, simultaneously balancing a cocktail. Shrubs, aka drinking vinegars, are a source of acid, a refreshing change of pace from the usual lime or in your cocktail recipe.

The method of storing fruit in vinegar originated in 17th century England as a way to extend the summer season and use overripe produce. Shrubs can be made one of two ways, resulting in a zesty piquant concentrate that is the essence of the fruit, vegetable or herb.

1.  Cover ripe fruit in vinegar, and steep at room temperature for up to two weeks. Drain off the vinegar and strain the fruit so the juice and a little of the pulp come through. Add sugar.

2.  Macerate the fruit in sugar to create a syrup. Mix with an equal measure of vinegar.