Strawberry Shrub Bourbon Cocktail
My friend Catherine recently introduced me to the strawberry shrub, a cocktail base made from strawberries, sugar and, shockingly, vinegar! What? Vinegar in a cocktail? Wait until you try it.
When I looked online for a recipe, I found variations that called for equal parts berries, sugar and vinegar. But after trying them, the ratio seemed off to me — way too vinegary.
So after a few trials I’ve come up with my own ratio that seems to work well. First you start with two cups of sliced berries.
Then you mix in one cup of white sugar, making sure the sugar is evenly distributed.
Let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours until you have a bright red syrup and the sugar has dissolved. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more liquid (and the more drink mix) you will get. You can even let it sit overnight or for a few days.
When you’re ready to make a drink, strain the berries and transfer the liquid to a measuring cup. Reserve the fruit for another use such as an ice cream topping or the filling of a berry cobbler or crisp.
Because my previous mixes were over-vinegared, I only mixed about 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar to the 3/4 cup of liquid the berries produced. Adjust to your taste and your shrub is done. The strawberry acts as an intermediary between the sweet sugar and tart vinegar, creating a flavor combo that is both zippy and delicious.
To make your cocktail, mix equal parts shrub and bourbon in a shaker (or makeshift mason jar shaker) with ice. Pour contents in a glass, adding some sparkling water to fill the glass.
And there you go — with a few simple steps, you can transform the juice of macerated strawberries plus vinegar into a delightful summer cocktail base. Don’t like bourbon, gin works as well — or skip the alcohol and add the mix to sparkling water — whatever floats your boat. Next I’d like to make a shrub with all those wonderful peaches at the farmers market.