A sweet, fruity cocktail may seem as overdone, run-of-the-mill, and unexciting as they come. Until you come across a shrub, that is, which turns the sugary boat upside down in a sea of vinegar.
The old-fashioned drink is seeing a renewed hey day this year on cocktail menus and in food media alike. Served with or without alcohol, it retains a dry, sophisticated quality not unlike a restorative.
Well, I'd call this a success story. My curiosity is piqued, and I can't wait to try out more complex combinations of flavors, with not just the fruit component, but herbs and spices as well. Different vinegars, different sweeteners. Vegetables too? (And maybe I'll add an alcoholic component just for kicks.)
To make the shrub, I loosely followed a recipe from Bon Appétit that called for one pint of berries, one and a half cups of apple cider vinegar, and a quarter cup of sugar. Using fresh blueberries, the cheapest apple cider vinegar I could find, and cane sugar, I brought the mixture to a boil and then removed from heat. It steeped for half an hour, and then went through a sieve into a glass jar. After it had cooled in the fridge, I enjoyed it on the rocks mixed with chilled club soda, and garnished with strawberries and basil.
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