Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic)

Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic) title=

Use almost any berry or fruit to make this refreshing beverage

Shrubs were all the rage during colonial times, both here in the US and in Britain.

Shrub syrup is usually made from fruit preserved with vinegar and sugar. Berries are a popular choice of fruit – and they’re our favorite.

Shrub syrups tend to be used in drinks (with or without booze). Today we’re making a nonalcoholic shrub drink, so you can serve this one to the whole family. It’s easy to make too. Just add shrub syrup to soda water and you’ll have an old-timey beverage that’s better than commercial sodas.

So mix one up and quaff like Alexander Hamilton. No wig required.



Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic) title=

Recipe: Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic)

There are two ways to make shrub syrup: cold or hot process. For the cold process, you just combine fruit and sugar, then let them mingle for a couple of days in the fridge. When you’re ready to drink, you strain the liquid (discarding the remaining solids) and add vinegar. That’s it.

For the hot process, you combine fruit, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Heat, then strain the liquid and add vinegar.

The cold process method takes longer (most of that time without any input from you), but the resulting syrup tastes brighter and less “cooked.” The hot process takes only about half an hour, so you can use the syrup right away. We describe both methods in more detail below.

The standard shrub recipe combines equal quantities of each ingredient. But after you’ve made it once or twice, you may elect to use less sugar and/or vinegar. If you become interested in making shrubs, we recommend Michael Dietsch’s book Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. His book includes recipes for preparing shrub syrups from berries, cherries, apples, and even cucumbers or other veggies. He features recipes for shrub drinks (with and without alcohol), and has loads of tips on shrub making.

Before you can make a shrub drink, you need to make the syrup, of course. So we include two recipes today. The first, for making the syrup, yields about 2 to 3 cups (depending on whether you use the cold or hot process). You can easily scale it up. Shrub syrup keeps well for weeks (or even months) if refrigerated in a glass container.

The second recipe explains how to make a drink using shrub syrup. This recipe takes about 5 minutes, and yields 1 serving.

Ingredients for Shrub Syrup
  • 1 cup berries (or other fruit; we used raspberries in our shrub)
  • 1 cup sugar (but see Notes)
  • 1 cup water (only if using the hot process)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar (may substitute wine vinegar; balsamic vinegar is nice when making a strawberry shrub)
Procedure for Shrub Syrup

For the cold process method:
  1. Rinse the berries. If using strawberries, hull them and cut them into quarters. Place the berries in a nonreactive bowl and crush them slightly. Add the sugar, then stir well to combine. Cover the mixture with shrink wrap and refrigerate for 2 days. Stir once or twice during that time.
  2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the berry/sugar mixture into the strainer. With a spatula, press the berries to extract their liquid. Pour the vinegar over the berries (this helps wash off the sugar) and allow it to drain into the bowl. Using the spatula, press the remaining liquid into the bowl. Discard the berry solids (or save them to serve over ice cream).
  3. Pour the liquid into a glass jar or bottle. Cover tightly, then shake to combine the mixture thoroughly. Label the shrub jar/bottle and refrigerate it. Before using the syrup, shake it again to combine.
For the hot process method:
  1. Prepare the berries as in Step 1 above, then place them in a 2-quart sauce pan. Add the sugar and water, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
  2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the berry mixture from the sauce pan into the strainer. With a spatula, press the berries to extract their liquid. Discard the berry solids.
  3. Add the vinegar to the berry liquid. Pour the liquid into a glass jar or bottle. Cover tightly, then shake to combine the mixture thoroughly. Label the shrub jar/bottle and refrigerate it. Before using the syrup, shake it again to combine.
Ingredients for Shrub Drink
  • 1 to 2 ounces shrub syrup (to taste)
  • 4 to 6 ounces seltzer water (to taste; may also use ginger ale)
  • garnish of mint sprigs or orange wheel (optional)
Procedure for Shrub Drink
  1. Add the shrub syrup to an ice-filled glass. Add the seltzer water, then stir briefly. 
  2. Garnish, if you wish, with mint sprigs or an orange wheel. Add straws, then serve.
Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic) title=

Notes
  • Make sure to store the finished shrub syrup in a glass container. Vinegar can react with plastic.
  • We’ve made shrub syrup using both the cold and hot process methods. If we’re in a hurry, we use the hot process. But we prefer the cold process method – we think the flavor is somewhat better.
  • If you’re using the cold process method, you can reduce the amount of sugar and/or vinegar (try using ½ to ¾ cup of each per cup of fruit). The shrub syrup will be less sweet/tart. Don’t go below ½ cup, though – you don’t want to compromise the preserving properties of the vinegar and sugar.
  • We like to use cider vinegar in shrub syrups. It has lots of flavor, without being lip-puckeringly tart. But wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and balsamic vinegar also work. We suggest you avoid plain white vinegar – it tends to be rather harsh.
  • You can flavor shrub syrups with herbs, such as thyme. If using the cold process method, just soak a few sprigs in the vinegar while the berry/sugar mixture is “mingling” in the refrigerator (Step 1 of the cold process recipe). Remove the thyme before you combine the vinegar and juice from the berries in Step 2. If using the hot process method: While the berries are heating in Step 1, heat the vinegar in a separate sauce pan. When the vinegar reaches a simmer, turn off the heat and add a few sprigs of thyme (or another herb of choice). Let the herb sprigs steep in the vinegar for 2 minutes, then remove them with a pair of tongs.
  • Riper fruit makes a better shrub syrup. In fact, if you have overripe fruit (that’s not spoiled), making shrub syrup is a good way to use it.
  • Shrub syrup can be used to make a fruit-tinged vinaigrette salad dressing. Use 1 to 3 parts oil for each part shrub syrup (in other words, to taste).
  • We like to use seltzer or soda water when making a drink with shrub syrup. But you can substitute ginger ale for a sweeter drink. You might also want to experiment with other sodas, or even ginger beer.
  • Shrub syrups make excellent alcoholic drinks. We’ll be sharing a shrub cocktail recipe later this month. Originally, most people drank their shrubs with alcohol.
  • Shrub drinks have been around for centuries. They were particularly popular from the 17th through the 19th centuries in Britain and America – most often mixed with brandy or rum.
  • Vinegar and sugar help preserve fruit, so making shrub syrup was a good way to preserve summer’s bounty before refrigeration arrived.
  • BTW, the word shrub reportedly derives from the Arabic word for “to drink.”
Berry Shrub (Nonalcoholic) title=

Monty Python and the Kitchen Riffs

“Shrub, eh?” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Guess this is the Holy Grail of summer drinks.”

“Ni! Ni!” I said. “So glad I could bring you a shrubbery.”

“We’re lucky there’s no pestilence upon this land,” said Mrs K R. “Otherwise, those who arrange and design shrubberies might be under considerable economic stress at this period in history.”

“True,” I said. “Fortunately, I’m not dead yet.”

“And you’re no doubt obsessed with huuuuge . . . tracts of land,” said Mrs K R.

“That’s not me, that’s one of the presidential candidates,” I said.

“Just for that,” said Mrs K R, “I should turn you into a newt.”

Run away! Run away!

You may also enjoy reading about:
Root Beer Floats
Homemade Grenadine
Strawberry Sauce
Simple Syrup
Blueberry Buckle
Fruit Fool
Or check out the index for more

112 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous, thirst quenching and amazing looking drink! Who could resist something so beautiful and colorful. The vinegar is so interesting - giving this one a try!

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    1. Hi Tricia, the vinegar is a surprise, isn't it? But it gives this a really nice tang! And a bit of tartness that's very refreshing. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Beauties... and how interesting the adding of vinegar to the recipe. I will have to try it next time.

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    1. Hi Denise, weird to think about drinking vinegar, but it really works! Of course you're use just a bit. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Hi John,
    Very refreshing and love the fact that there is no alcohol. Sometimes in the summer you just want something to quench your thirst. I think I prefer to make the cold one...and I love the idea of using strawberries and then I would use the balsamic vinegar. Never heard of this drink and thanks for telling us what the name means..to drink..Always learn some great info from your post. Thanks for sharing..have a great rest of the week..
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, isn't this fun? And it's really an old recipe -- as in hundreds of years old! But not one most people know these days (although shrubs have become big on the craft bar scene). Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Hahaha! Love the Monty Python reference!! I love MP, of course, even my ringtone is the opening soundtrack from MP! And the shrubbery scene is one of my favourites!!
    I have never heard of a shrub, learn something new everyday! Thank you for including a non alcoholic version, with Ramadan here and hot days, this will go down a treat!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, this is a perfect Ramadan treat! Would be wonderful to break your fast. And Monty Python is so much fun! We're huge fans. Huuuuge. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Beautiful! They sound like a perfect way to celebrate summer!

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    1. Hi Chris, isn't this nice? And incredibly tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. That looks delicious, definitely something to have on a hot summer day

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    1. Hi Raymund, this is really refreshing. Definitely worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Oh, that is so beautiful, sounds perfect for a hot afternoon!

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    1. Hi Pat, isn't this pretty? Terrifically refreshing, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. You didn't mention ice. I wonder if they iced the beverages in earlier times, when ice was kept in ice houses and valued more than we do today. I saw a colonial ice house in Alexandria, VA, so I know they date at least that far back.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, actually in the Procedure for the shrub drink we do say to add the syrup and seltzer to an ice-filled glass. But no, the original version of this didn't include ice. Or sparkling water -- still water. Actually they'd often mix up a batch of this, with booze, kind of like a punch. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Well now this sexy tall and handsome drink and I should probably hang out this summer!

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    1. Hi GiGi, you'd make a great pair! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Hi John, I made a shrub last year and really enjoyed it, will try your version looks delicious!!

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    1. Hi Cheri, aren't shrubs good? Love their crisp, tart flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I absolutely am loving the idea of the cold press, the fruit in it's pure form. Love the non alcoholic version. Laughed at the shrubbery reference, goto love it.
    Cheers for the start of summer and such a lovely drink I had never heard of .

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    1. Hi Asha, nice thing about this drink is everyone in the family can drink it. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. The same hot and cold processes are also used to make grenadine and the pros and cons are just the same. Color counts for a lot (and yours is gorgeous) so I choose cold. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, color is pretty good on this with the hot process method, but you're right that it's better with the cold. And the flavor is definitely a bit better. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Just stunning pics. I know I have read about shrub syrup before, it is ringing a bell but never made it or tried it. thanks for the shrub and drink recipes!

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    1. Hi Evelyne, shrubs are really good, and because they've been around for seemingly forever, there are loads of references to them around. But they're not hugely popular, although those in the craft cocktail scene tend to use shrub syrups a lot as an ingredient. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. How could anyone resist this gorgeous drink?! I'm going to have to make a batch soon. Too many beautiful summer berries to resist right now. This is the perfect solution for my delicious predicament.

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    1. Hi Karen, we've fallen in love with shrubs! Have about 4 different batches in the refrigerator right now. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Love the nod to Monty Python! And thanks for including both methods. This looks refreshing for sure! Good alternative.

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    1. Hi Debra, who can resist Monty Python? I was smitten the first time I saw them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I just recently had some cocktails with homemade shrubs as an ingredient. Your raspberry shrub looks like it would be terrific in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks!

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    1. Hi Liz, shrubs are wonderful in cocktails! We'll be doing a rum shrub later this month, but you can use them in other drinks, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Hi John:)

    So, I've been on the hunt for just the right strawberries since strawberry season finally arrived in these parts but, for some reason I have not been able to find just the right ones for making freezer jam. The strawberries just don't seem sweet enough this year, why oh why I'm not sure.

    With this last purchase, I decided to cut them up and douse them in sugar. They have been "mingling" for just over a day now. I do believe I will try adding some vinegar tomorrow and turning the whole into a shrub!

    I'm going to have to wing it on the vinegar amount because I didn't measure anything else but now that you have so kindly shared this concept, I may just be able to pull it off. Wish me luck John and thanks so much for sharing...Your Berry Shrub looks amazing!!!

    P.S. HUGE fan of the Mr. & Mrs. banter:)

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    1. Hi Louise, you'll love shrubs! Such a nice flavor. As for the vinegar amount, once you strain the liquid, just keep adding vinegar until it tastes nice and sharp, but not too sharp. That will get you close enough. Glad you like the banter, and thanks for the comment.

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    2. We did love it John! Marion wanted a bit more vinegar in hers but mine was just right! I mixed it yesterday with balsamic right after reading your post. Thank YOU!!!

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    3. Hi Louise, aren't shrubs wonderful? Glad you liked it, and thanks for telling me.

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  18. During warmer weather my standard drink is sparkling water and a simple syrup of some type (usually hibiscus). I've never heard of shrub syrup. The suggestion of strawberry with balsamic sounds awesome!!! Thanks for this refreshing idea John! Just picked up some organic strawberries so I'll be making this SOON!!!

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    1. Hi MJ, you'll love this. Trust me. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I am a huge fan of shrubs and yours looks fantastic. I will make it as soon as I get some strawberries.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, aren't shrubs wonderful? SO much flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Oh, I love the process for making this drink. I also love that it's a great way to use up fruit that is on it's last days. It's so potent at that time but no one wants to eat it because it's not as pretty as the rest, lol. I am a huge berry fan and I'll definitely be drinking these this summer. Thanks, John!

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    1. Hi Robyn, this is really a good way to use fruit that absolutely needs to be used soon! And that may have lost its peak flavor. It'll still be wonderful in a shrub. Thanks for the comment.

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  21. What a refreshing drink! Perfect for a warm day. Shrub syrup sounds intriguing! Gotta try soon!

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    1. Hi Marcela, shrubs are basically a taste of history -- and such a delicious way to learn history! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Can't say that I've ever had a shrub drink, sounds interesting with the vinegar. The color of the drink is gorgeous and I love all that ice. Time travel back to Colonial days for sure! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Pam, yup, this is definitely a time travel drink. And a really good one! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. My husband and I had a cocktail at a bar recently where there was a lazy susan filled with bottles of shrub mixes and bitters. Now I have a recipe on how to make my own. Thanks for the tip about cold process method being your favorite.

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    1. Hi Karen, shrub syrup is really good stuff! You can do so much with it. Enjoy! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. How beautiful John. This sounds and looks so refreshing! This is my kind of drink.

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    1. Hi Vicki, I think you'll really like this. And do try using the syrup in place of vinegar in a salad -- really good! Thanks for the comment.

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  25. That's a gorgeous drink! I love, love your historical drink posts. I can't wait to tell my kids about the history behind this old-timey drink as they sip on one :)

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    1. Hi Marcelle, your kids will love this! SO much flavor. You'll like it, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. This is one of the most interesting things I've read. It sounds so intriguing.

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    1. Hi Jeff, this really is intriguing. And dead simple to make! My kind of recipe. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    2. I've got two batches of fruit steeping in the fridge right now, in high anticipation of some rum shrubs (with and without ice cream) on Sunday!

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    3. Hi Jeff, you'll love this! Really. Good. Stuff. :-)

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  27. Another awesome drink...although I must admit that I am so intrigued with the vinegar...shrub syrup sounds really interesting and practical as you do not need to store in the refrigerator large jar and just dilute as you need.
    By the way, I did make the white lady cocktail and loved it...
    Hope you are having a wonderful week John :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, glad you liked the White Lady! And you'll like this, too. Vinegar never tasted so good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I like the instructions to do the hot process or cold process. I learn so much from your posts! Love this!

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    1. Hi Ashley, glad you liked the post. Shrubs are SO worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. What a great summer beverage! I love anything with a kick of vinegar. And the mere mention of Alexander Hamilton has the song from Hamilton stuck in my head even though I haven't seen it yet.

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    1. Hi Laura, we haven't seen Hamilton yet either, although want to. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. For some reason I've never tried making a shrub. Your lush, thirst quenching recipe sounds wonderful! Now all I need is some sunshine to chase away the coastal fog!

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    1. Hi Deb, shrubs are fun -- try them once, and I'll bet you'll make them again and again. They're addictive! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. John, I haven't heard about shrubs since my mother died. I thought she was the only person who knew about them! Now you've got my wheels turning! :D

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    1. Hi Jean, my mom used to serve a shrub appetizer when I was a kid -- mainly sherbet with a shrub-like sauce. Shrubs are really good -- definitely worth playing with. Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Of this looks so refreshing!! Would it be too naughty of me to add Vodka???
    Thanks for sharing
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, this is really refreshing! And yes, booze is good in this (we'll be doing a booze version in a few weeks). But there are more interesting things to add than vodka. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. A Shrub Cocktail? Sounds quite rustic and also quite adaptable to one's circumstances. For instance, if one falls down into the shrubs, maybe one could pick some of the leaves for an ensuing cocktail! I like picking Hibiscus leaves- maybe I could use some of that shrubbery in my cocktail!

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    1. Hi Fran, a Hibiscus cocktail sounds rather nice. At the very least, use a flower to garnish the drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I have more fun reading your blog. You have the most interesting information and fun recipes to try!

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    1. Hi Kristi, this is really good stuff! Worth making. :-) Thanks for that kind comment.

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  35. This is one gorgeous shrub! To bad the ones in my yard are not as pretty! Can't wait to try this!

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    1. Hi Abbe, yeah, the ones in our yard aren't as pretty either. But drink the boozy version (appearing in a couple of weeks!) and they will be. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I'm always looking for ways to incorporate cider vinegar into my beverages. I hear a lot of benefits drinking cider vinegar. This looks fantastic, John. Put up a link of all the beverage photos to create a portfolio. I haven't forgotten, thank you very much :D

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    1. Hi Kiran, cider vinegar is good stuff! Very healthy. Maybe one of these days a beverage portfolio -- it'd be fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. This cocktail is the perfect drink for summer! I know cider vinegar is supposed to be really good for you, so what a great way to incorporated into our diets. Thanks for sharing John!

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    1. Hi Nancy, vinegar, cider or otherwise, is really good stuff. :-) And it's so wonderful in this drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Balsamic Vinegar and strawberries is a great marriage but I never thought of it in a shrub!!! Brilliant!

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    1. Hi Girl in the Purple Sweater, that combo is dynamite in a shrub! Or in anything, really. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. What an enticing drink. I love shrubs. Some people get put off by the vinegar, but it's just enough to make the drink extra-refreshing.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, shrubs are great, aren't they? And I think the vinegar is so refreshing! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. This looks like something my daughter will enjoy!!!

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    1. Hi Peachy, bet your daughter would love this! And you, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. This looks like a really summery drink. What a gorgeous colour. I haven't had a shrub drink before but it does look very refreshing and when summer once more rolls around, I'd love to try this. When you mentioned 'shrub' I thought we were talking about something to plant in the garden! xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, shrubs do have an odd name, don' t they? Don't know how they got it. But yes, this is a wonderful summery drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. I've never made shrubs, but I know I would love them! The tart, fruity flavor sounds perfect for summer.

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    1. Hi Lisa, shrubs are kind of addictive. We have 3 different batches (different flavors) in the refrigerator right now! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. When I saw the Alexander Hamilton reference, I was hoping you'd be quoting from the musical - perhaps telling your readers you were not throwing away your shot (glass)?

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    1. Hi Beth, haven't seen Hamilton yet. Coming to St. Louis in a year or so -- looking forward to it! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. How refreshing and perfect for summer!

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    1. Hi Caroline, this really is refreshing. And tasty! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Brilliant, John !! Sounds delicious. Sooo good and refreshing.

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    1. Hi Rahul, it's hot here (and I'll bet in Texas, too!) so this is just the thing to slack one's thirst. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  46. Thanks for the non alcoholic drink! Sometimes I feel jealous with drink envy when I read all your great recipes but this is one I can enjoy too! I love that beautiful color!

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    1. Hi Pamela, this is a wonderful drink! I think you'd really enjoy it. And making shrub syrup is so much fun! Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Who says you need alcohol to have fun? This looks great! But I'm sure the spiked version would be delicious too ;)

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    1. Hi Mary, the spiked version is terrific! And we'll be posting about that in a couple of weeks. But wanted to do the unspiked version first. It's also really good! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I had never heard of a shrub drink, thank you for the explanation. The colour is exquisite and perfect to bring a chill on a hot summer day.

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    1. Hi Eva, isn't this neat? And such a nice flavor! Extremely refreshing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. Yum! My whole family would love this berry shrub. It sounds amazing.

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    1. Hi Pam, this IS amazing! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. Hi John,

    When I went to your berry shrub post, your drinks are like screaming the word, SUMMER to me!!! They are so bright and cheerful!!! Love love love them!!! :D

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, this really is a summery drink! And a really good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. John...I've heard of shrugs before but have yet to try one. I'm intrigued about the vinegar in this recipe. Just enough to make it tart? Can you actually taste the vinegar? I'm intrigued and can't wait to try this really pretty drink! : )

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    1. Hi Anne, it has a bit of tartness to it -- about as much as if you used lemon or lime juice in a cocktail. You kinda sorta taste the vinegar, but it's more the tart/sour taste as opposed to a pure vinegar taste. Thanks for the comment.

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  52. Finally a non alcoholic drink from you dear John, this is a must try. Shrub making sounds interesting, the only thing I want to change is reducing the vinegar amount, at least in the beginning until we get used to the taste. Thanks for sharing this delicious drink.

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    1. Hi Amira, I was thinking of you when I decided to do this drink! Do reduce the vinegar to taste -- that's one of the things that's easy to play with. Enjoy! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  53. Shrubs! So popular right now, and i'm totally on the bandwagon with them, as they are completely refreshing. I've been meaning to get that Shrubs book; good reminder. :) Thanks John!

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    1. Hi Shannon, shrubs go in and out of style, or at least it seems that way. I remember them when I was a kid, but then didn't see them again for ages. Now I've been seeing them a lot in craft cocktails -- a great use for them. Thanks for the comment.

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  54. Bookmarking this for later information - I can't believe I haven't heard of a Shrub before!!

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    1. Hi Amanda, shrubs are wonderful! Such a great flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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