Shrubs 101: Everything You Need to Know About “Drinking Vinegars”


Wednesday - 14th October 2020

If you love what your morning dose of apple cider vinegar does for your body but your tastebuds beg to differ, learn how to make a shrub drink that’s as irresistible as it is healthy! 

Making a shrub syrup at home is a fun way to preserve and play with seasonal fruit, and you can make it with practically any fruit you have on hand. In addition to drinks, you can use the brightly flavored concoction in salad dressings and homemade jam, or as a glaze for meats.

What is a shrub?
A shrub is essentially a concoction of acidulated, macerated fruit and sparkling water, also known as a drinking vinegar, resulting in a refreshing tonic that is both healthy and versatile. 

Shrubs may be trendy now but dating back to the 1700s, shrubs were the original soda beverage. Prior to the advent of refrigeration, self-preserving vinegar drinks could stay out for a prolonged period of time. Sugar and vinegar were used to extend the shelf life of fruit and aromatic herbs, in time producing a sweet and tangy syrup that could be combined with water or spirits, or used to make medicinal herbs taste more palatable.

How Can I Make Shrubs?
Making your own shrub is surprisingly easy, and can be broken down into a simple formula: the fruit of your choice + sweetener + vinegar + time. No wizardry or fancy equipment are required, the key lies in getting the ratio right. A 1:1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar to vinegar will result in the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Toss 1 lb of fresh fruit of your choice (for example, strawberries), diced into ¼ inch pieces with 2 cups granulated sugar in a bowl, cover securely and let sit on the counter, stirring once a day. After 2 days strain the mixture into a measuring cup, discard the fruit and combine with 2 cups of Ancestral Apple Cider Vinegar. Transfer the mixture to a jar and place it in the fridge.

This very basic recipe is merely a jumping off point. Once you have the basic ratio down, you’re free to experiment to create endless flavour combinations, from summer berries and peaches to rhubarb and beyond. Turn things up a notch with innovative infusions of spices like ginger or cardamom and aromatic herbs! 

How Do I Use Shrubs?
You've made your concentrate, now what? Shrubs are a wonderfully refreshing alternative to sugary sodas when combined with soda water and integrate beautifully into vibrant cocktails or mocktails (a non-alcoholic aperitif).

Switch up your shrub of choice with the seasons to make the best use of late summer and early autumn fruit. A delicious, healthy drink that reduces food waste is good for you, good for your wallet, and good for the planet.

Add this fizzy and flavourful fermented drink packed with anti-oxidants and probiotic benefits to your daily routine and say goodbye to the vinegar shudders!

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Ancestral Vinegar | Apple Cider