If you buy flavoured sparkling water or those flavour crystal packets, this alternative is cheaper and probably healthier.
“Shrubs” are fruit and/or herb and spice sugar syrups with a vinegar base. A simple 1:1:1 ratio of the fruit, sugar and vinegar is used. In the ‘cold method’ the cleaned and diced fruit is macerated with sugar, strained and then the syrup is mixed with the vinegar. In the ‘hot method’, vinegar is brought just to or under the boiling point, before it’s poured over the fruit and allowed to macerate overnight or up to several days. Then, the fruit is strained and the liquid is mixed with sugar. In both cases, the resulting liquid is stored in sterilized bottles under refrigeration.
I used an alternative to the cold method which I found posted here.
1 cup blueberries (any berry may be used though cherries, peaches, plums and pears are good too)
3/4 – 1 cup white sugar (you may choose to use the lower quantity of sugar)
1 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar**
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
In a large jar, combine blueberries and sugar and macerate with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour the vinegar over fruit and grate the ginger on top. Stir, cover with a lid and place into the fridge for 2-3 days until all sugar is dissolved.
Sieve the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth or coffee filter. (Don’t discard the spent fruit. It can be served over drained yogurt or added to smoothies or muffins.)
Place the sieved liquid into a fresh, sterilized jar and return to the fridge.
To serve, mix 1 tablespoon of the shrub syrup into a glass of still or sparkling water. Taste and add more syrup, if desired. Shrub syrups may also be used as cocktail mixers, in salad dressings, and more.
** According to on line sources (uncredited): Any vinegar may be used, as long as it is labeled as having at least 5 % acidity. Distilled white vinegar has a clear, sharp flavour but may be too acrid for most people’s tastes; apple cider vinegar tends to be milder with a fruity flavour; and wine/champagne vinegars, while more expensive, often provide a superior smooth flavor. Balsamic vinegar is delicious with cherries and strawberries.
16 thoughts on “Fruit/Herb “Shrubs” or Drinking Vinegar … Blueberry-Ginger Shrub”
What a nice way to flavour plain soda. I usually buy Reinhart Apple Cider Vinegar (at metro, it’s about $4!) it is not pasteurized.
To be honest, I used pasteurized but I’ll try the unpasteurized one day. 🙂
This sounds delicious. I always enjoy seeing your pictures too. Thank you so much!
Thank you for the kind remark on the post and pictures.
Does it taste like vinegar?
There’s a back note of acidity but it doesn’t taste like vinegar at all. I made a half recipe and have had a drink every day (1-2 tbsp per glass) as a refreshing after dinner drink. I don’t have a craving for anything sweet like a soda. I can hardly wait to make a fresh batch with another fruit.
Sounds fascinating. I wonder if the passion fruit pulp I have in the freezer would work for this.
I was intrigued by a pineapple, apple cider vinegar, honey and jalapeno shrub combination.
That sounds really interesting. A bit of a bite to it.
Yes, that bit of spice is appealing. You can do a google search on ‘shrub’ + ‘drink’ and any fruit and herb combinations that you’re curious about. Apparently, a splash of balsamic vinegar added to apple cider vinegar in combination with strawberries is very tasty. Citrus, fresh lavender and even elderberry are ideas that interest me.
It’s been years since I made a shrub but I adore blueberry anything. This would make me happy today.
It was very tasty. I only made a half batch … and it’s all gone. Haven’t decided what flavour I’m making next. 🙂
I love shrubs but have never posted one. I’ve gotten away from it over the years, but I’ve some how gotten myself addicted to diet pop and I think I’ll make myself some shrubs! Thanks for the information! 🙂
I vaguely remember hearing about them years ago but never thought to make one myself until recently. They’re pretty tasty though I think I’ll avoid club soda and the sodium next time.
I’ve read once about these drinks in an old cookery book and love the idea! Especially for hot summer days….
I really enjoyed it and will definitely make another batch soon.