may 5, 2021
Strawberries are in season. It’s time to add them to salads, desserts, breads and beverages. This Strawberry Shrub Gin Cocktail has the makings of a tasty mocktail with just the shrub base. Add to gin or a favorite spirit for a delightful seasonal cocktail to start your outdoor entertaining.
Easy starter recipes allow you to spend more time on fancying up the entree and dessert. The only difficulty with this sweetly tart beverage is waiting for the vinegar shrub to develop its flavor. Then you can experiment like I did.
Drinking shrubs are of historical interest. In colonial America, shrubs were called drinking vinegars. Modern shelves began to stock fruit and vinegar drinks a few years back and I considered as a challenge to make my own Raspberry Peach Shrub. If you’re a fan of kombucha, the taste profile of a shrub is not far off that mark— tart from apple cider vinegar and lightly sweet from cane sugar.
Vinegar Shrubs are Versatile
After at least four days in the fridge, with the berries in the mix, the shrub’s flavor is potent enough for adding to gin or other spirits as a cocktail. Mix with fizzy water for a colorful mocktail or drizzle over ice cream for an unexpected flavor explosion. Iced tea will also benefit from a shot of this pretty red elixir. Don’t discard those berries! They are the perfect topping for ice cream and yogurt. Strain after you’ve used every drop of shrub, then enjoy their tartness.
In addition to trying the shrub with chilled gin, my guests and I tried both plain seltzer and tonic water with the gin/shrub mix. The seltzer addition was the clear winner, gently tamping down the bold shrub flavor and allowing the gin to shine with clarity. The latter version made for an exotic gin-and-tonic. Enjoyed in the shade on a blazing hot day, this shrub will be a big winner in the summer cocktail repertoire.
Strawberry Shrub Gin Cocktail
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 2 cups
one cup pure apple cider vinegar (organic, with “the mother”)
one cup sugar
one cup chopped fresh strawberries
for mixing : chilled gin or other spirits, chilled seltzer or tonic water
- In small nonreactive saucepan, stir vinegar and sugar over medium low heat just until sugar melts.
- Add strawberries, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate berries and liquid in glass container at least four days to develop flavor.
- Use two ounces (¼ cup) strawberry shrub to 2 ounces gin or other spirits over ice for full strength cocktail, or (best) top this with either seltzer or tonic water in tall glass on the rocks.
- For non-alcoholic mocktail, use 2 ounces strawberry shrub with fizzy liquid of your choice.
- Consider adding a shot of strawberry shrub to unsweetened iced tea.
- Instead of discarding strawberries once you’ve used all your shrub liquid, use them to top ice cream or yogurt.
- Shrub keeps well in the refrigerator several weeks.