• Shrubs

    What Is A Shrub Drink?

    I'm constantly intrigued by how cocktails obtain their names-- and after surfing my reasonable share of bar food selections, there is one term particularly I've always pondered: the shrub. What makes a drink a shrub? As well as just how did this word, which I associate with a well-groomed garden, become connected with cocktails?


    "Shrub" is in fact the name of 2 different alcohol-related refreshments, as well as vinegar plays a pretty large function in this drink's history. One kind is a fruit liqueur that was specifically popular in 17th century England, made with rum or brandy, sugar, fruit and also citrus juice-- though vinegar was utilized instead of citrus to preserve berries in the off-season. This liqueur would certainly then be mixed with level or sparkling water to develop a cocktail. The various other sort of shrub is a sweetened vinegar-based syrup that can be used to make a beverage-- this is likewise called "drinking vinegar," as well as is generally infused with fruit juice, herbs and also flavors.


    The history of the word "shrub" comes from the Arabic sharbah, which suggests "a beverage," though "sherbet" as well as "syrup also come from this origin. Do I notice a motif? Shrubs stretch back to the Babylonians, who combined date vinegar right into water to make it safe to drink, and also the Romans, who produced posca from incorporating vinegar as well as water.


    The very early English variation of a shrub (additionally called a switchel) was influenced by 15th century medicinal beverages as well as a Persian polite called sekanjabin, made with honey and also vinegar. Shrubs and switchels were initially marketed as wellness tonics-- sailors drank them to avoid scurvy as well as to remain in "ardent spirits."


    Since shrubs are basically a mix of fruits as well as alcohol, they're pretty closely related to punch-- the major difference is that punch is commonly served right away after blending, while shrubs have a greater focus of flavor and sugar and were usually saved for later usage (sort of like margarita mixer). At Christmastime, people would blend shrubs with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry and rum, and was offered in lots of British bars through the 18th century.


    The American variation of the shrub is definitely influenced by the English version. In colonial America, a common shrub would certainly involve putting vinegar over fruit (generally berries) and also letting it infuse for numerous days, after that straining out the fruit, sweetening the continuing to be fluid as well as decreasing it to a syrup. The end product was a pleasant as well as sour syrup that could be mixed with soda or right into boozy mixed drinks.


    Though the shrub decreased in popularity as soon as refrigeration occurred (who needs vinegar to preserve fruit?), it's lately made a comeback in the US, Canada as well as London. The high level of acidity of the mixed drink makes it an excellent aperitif, and some bartenders use it instead of mixed drink bitters.