july 3, 2019
Some years back, a client gave me some pamphlets touting the benefits of pure apple cider vinegar. There were hundreds of uses listed and one could never remember them all; it was overwhelming . Household uses were listed with abandon. Although it seems a waste to use pure organic apple cider for cleaning (that’s what white vinegar is ideally suited to accomplish), I do use it for cooking and livening up both sweet and savory dishes. And I drink just a little bit each and every day.
A recent visit to Little Saint restaurant in Richmond convinced me there is a case for refreshing non-alcoholic mocktails made with shrubs, or drinking vinegars. They tickle the nose and make your palate sing with acidic zing, and the fresh fruits mixed in offer an engaging contrast without cloying sweetness. If you are so inclined, adding them to spirits will up your cocktail game and make you want to experiment with fruits in season all year long.
This shrub was going to be called Peach Melba shrub, after the dessert of days gone by made with peaches and raspberries over vanilla ice cream. But the vintage moniker might have folks scratching their heads—who has seen Peach Melba on any menu in recent times?—so I figured I’d call it what it is and be direct.
I love that you can drink this shrub with fizzy water and also make cocktails with just about any type of alcohol. It’s also easy to customize in that more of the fruit syrup will give a powerful shot of acidic sweetness, and less will just barely kiss the accompanying seltzer or spirit. Play around with this shrub to your taste. It has kept well in the fridge for me for two weeks and my guess is that freezing will not alter the quality.
Raspberry Peach Shrub
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about three cups
2 cups sugar
2 cups pure organic apple cider vinegar with “the mother”
one cup fresh raspberries
one cup fresh peeled and diced yellow or white peaches
for mixing : seltzer water for mocktails and cocktails, various spirits for cocktails (rum, vodka, moonshine, gin, bourbon, tequila, etc)
optional garnishes : raspberries, peach slices, mint sprigs
- In two quart nonreactive (stainless steel) saucepan, mix sugar and apple cider vinegar over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted.
- Add fruits, stir well and cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate in glass or stainless (not plastic) container, well sealed, for 4-7 days to develop flavor.
- Strain into another glass or stainless container (compost fruits or use over yogurt or ice cream) and refrigerate shrub up to 2 weeks.
- Mixture may also be frozen and defrosted for later use.
- For mocktail (non-alcoholic beverage), pour 2-4 ounces of shrub over glass full of ice and top with seltzer. Larger amount will be quite strong and is for those who love vinegar’s kick.
- For cocktail, use 2 ounces (¼ cup) of shrub over ice topped with 2 ounces of spirits; if desired, add seltzer to top of glass for more fizz.
UPDATE : This shrub has kept well in the refrigerator for one month – just made a spritzer and it was as good as when first made.