The shrub is ready for its cocktail renaissance—and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The rum-ready blended drink, a combo of acidulated fruit juice (fruit plus vinegar), sugar and water, has been around for centuries, though it’s popularity took quite a hit during prohibition in the 1920s.
Michael Dietsch, author of Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, is at the forefront of reviving the trend. In Shrubs, Dietsch walks readers through the entire history of the shrub (starting with the invention of vinegar 8,000 years ago!), gives vital advice on making shrubs at home and offers a wide variety of recipes that can be enjoyed with, or sans, alcohol.
Since it’s the holiday season, we are naturally into the whole “spiked” idea. Below you will find three of Dietsch’s favorite zingy cocktails, all featuring simple and seasonal homemade shrubs.
David’s Winter Shrub Cocktails
Featured Shrub: Pear-Ginger Shrub
This cocktail is a variation on the applecart cocktail, which is itself a variation of the sidecar. The sidecar is a classic cocktail using cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. The applecart keeps the same ingredients but uses apple brandy in place of cognac. My variation uses shrub in place of lemon juice, with the tart shrub providing the acidic backbone of the drink.
Featured Shrub: Apple-Cardamom Shrub
Next up, a punch! This party favorite pairs a mellow but rich rum, such as Appleton Estate or Mount Gay, with shrub and ginger ale. The Angostura bitters contributes flavors of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, contributing a Christmasy element to the punch.
Featured Shrub: Cranberry Sauce Shrub
Finally, a wintery sangria, using wine and shrub. Like the punch, the sangria will please a crowd and you can mix it up in advance.