Do you know what a Shrub is? Yes, I thought I did too – turns out there’s more than one definition for ‘shrub’. Of course there’s the leafy green plants that cover the front of the house…then there’s the Shrub that is a cocktail additive. A what?! Oh yes. Apparently, the Japanese are very fond of them as well. They’re all the rage over there, only they call them ‘drinking vinegars’. (what the yuck – who would drink vinegar!?) OK, so that name alone gives a clue to where this is going. This really all started when I was surfing a favorite blog called ‘Food In Jars’, all about preserving things. One post talked about these ‘shrubs’. After looking over the Net, I discovered that they’re quite trendy. Hmm, I’ve got some leftover blueberries, how bad could it be.
This was very interesting and worth exploring if you like martini’s with Bitters. I personally am a huge fan of Tanqueray Gin (even if it doesn’t like me anymore) and a botanical addition to the distilled juniper is right up my alley! They’re really pretty easy to do – here’s how it goes.
In a large jar (24oz or so) combine:
1 cup Blueberries (or blackberries, raspberries or even cherries)
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
2″ piece of Fresh Ginger, grated
Get your handy-dandy muddler and mash. What’s a ‘muddler’? It’s that thing you use to mash mint for mojitos -gasp- you don’t have one? Then get a big wooden spoon handle and mash away. But it will forever look like blueberry purple.
Let it set in the fridge for about a week. Shake it every day or so.
Look at that. After a week the sugar and vinegar has broken down the berries into a syrup of sorts.
Now we strain. First use a regular strainer to get rid of the big solids. Then run it thru a tea strainer or coffee filter (that takes all night!) and there you have it. I had an old bottle from malt vinegar that I’d kept for just such a product.
Now for the test. I tasted it it alone over ice first and discovered that it reminded me of the juice from pickled beets. Now, I really like pickled or Harvard beets. I actually soak hard boiled eggs in the juice when I’ve eaten all the beets – yum. So, this was a pleasant discovery. Although, I never drink the stuff ! What I didn’t understand is the whole drinking thing…then I made a cocktail. Wow – what a taste sensation! Now I get it ! Gin, over ice with a couple of dashes of this is like a sweeter version of the Dirty Martini (with olive juice). And now I feel all crafty and trendy,…like my bar is as cool as on a Brooklyn corner. OK, maybe not that cool, but a girl can dream.
Michelle @ www.badzoot.com