Have you tried shrubs yet? The idea of drinking something that was made with vinegar is not a new one but can definitely give you pause if you've never tried it. If you're a fan of kombucha, though, you will probably be a shrub lover. I like both.
So, what exactly is a shrub? It's equal parts vinegar and sugar mixed with fruit and possible flavorings like ginger or vanilla. It steeps in a jar, in the refrigerator, for a couple of days until the liquid takes on the fruit flavor. It's then strained and mixed with club soda for a supposedly healthy drink. Or it can be used as a mixer with cocktails with I think is way more fun.
You can use a variety of different vinegars for different flavors but I tend to choose apple cider vinegar which I find milder than plain white distilled. Pre-made shrubs can be bought in stores that sell high end bitters and other cocktail flavorings. But they're very pricey and making your own is so simple. This year I actually made a few batches, in different flavors, to give as gifts.
So, when I was thinking about New Year's Eve cocktails, I decided to give my favorite pomegranate and champagne combination a little pear and ginger shrub kick and it definitely made it extra special. Cheers!
- For the Cocktail:
- 1 oz. pomegranate juice
- 1 oz. pear and ginger shrub (recipe follows)
- 4 oz. champagne (chilled)
- For the Pear and Ginger Shrub:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 firm pears (such as Bosc, peeled and cored)
- 1 piece (approximately 2") fresh ginger (peeling optional)
To make the shrub:
- Combine the sugar and apple cider vinegar in a jar (such as a canning or Mason jar) with a tight fitting lid and shake well to dissolve the sugar.
- Peel, core and slice the pear into chunks and add them to the jar along with the piece of fresh ginger. Shake well again and refrigerate for at least two days.
- Give the jar a good shake a couple of times a day.
- When it's ready, you can strain out the pear and ginger pieces or, as I like to do, pulse a few of the pear chunks in the food processor, add back into the mixture and then strain. It will give you a more powerful fruit flavor. Keep the remaining shrub, with the lid on, in the refrigerator. It should last for a couple of weeks.
To make the cocktail:
- Add the pomegranate juice and shrub to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice, shake well and pour into a chilled champagne flute or coupe glass.
- Top with the chilled champagne.