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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strawberry Balsamic Shrub

Ok, I know I'm not the first person to say this - but I've fallen in love with shrubs.

I was a bit slow to catch on. When friends started raving about drinking fruit vinegars, I'll admit, I was doubtful. Because you know, I clean with vinegar. Drinking it seems a bit strange, right?

Let me be the first to admit that I was wrong. Shrubs are the singular most delicious thing to happen to my face in a long time. It's like drinking summer. The taste is fruity and dry, and just a tiny bit tart, and so good.

Shrubs might be the newest internet stars, but they're hardly new players. They have a long history in Europe, waaay back before summer fruits were available year 'round, before refrigerators, when people were doing everything they could to preserve the tastes of summer for the long winter ahead. 

There seem to be an endless variation of shrub recipes, using any number of fruit, vinegar, and spice combinations. Our favorite so far is a strawberry balsamic vinegar shrub, which is super easy to make and pretty much caused a revolution in my mouth. Really, its that good.

Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub

2 cups strawberries (I think we caught the very last Farmers Market strawberries. hurry!)
2 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinager
1 cup balsamic vinager

1. Remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them in quarters.
2. Combine the strawberries and sugar, and mash them together with a potato masher to release some of the juice from the strawberries.
3. Store the mixture in the fridge overnight.
4. Add the vinegars, and give it a stir. Leave this mixture in a sealed mason jar on your counter for a few days.
5. Strain out the fruit, and voila! Shrub.
6. Combine the shrub syrup with soda water (vodka is nice too) to taste. Serve over ice.
(I would guess that I like a 5:1 ratio of shrub to soda water, personally - but play with it and see what you like.)

 (here is our strawberry balsamic shrub, posing with a raspberry shrub - which was also delicious)



  1. These "Shrubs" sound very good and I am going to have to try them. I have never heard of them before, but have heard of a good deal of health benefits from drinking vinegar. thank you for this post!

  2. Oh, they're so delicious. Let me know what you think if you end up trying them! I'm glad to know that drinking vinegar doesn't have to be an onerous task..

  3. Sounds fantastic!
    Summer fruits are all gone here though.

    What are other good options for making winter shrubs? Can pomes be used?

  4. I'm having the same problem here! I've almost finished drinking the strawberry shrub, and the idea of waiting until next summer for more shrub is aweful!

    I think I'm going to experiment with using apple and pie spices, along with apple cider vigager to make a fall shrub. It will take a week or so until I can post the recipe with results (if it's any good) - but we'll see how it goes!

    I'm also interested in experimenting with a ginger shrub at some point. I'm imagining you might end up with something like a dry gingerale flavour. I promise to post any recipes that work out!

  5. Lovely. I want it. Thanks for posting this on my wall (Pastry Chef Online)!