This Strawberry-Vanilla Shrub Gin Cocktail is the new Colonial Gin-n-Juice!
So I killed an ivy plant yesterday, despite all the research I’ve done to keep that ‘sum bitch alive. OK – I didn’t kill it, kill it. It’s on life support, though. Apparently I over-watered it. I mean, seriously – How the hell was I supposed to know that dried leaves meant I was over-watering a plant?! Does that even make sense?
I can’t make plants thrive and that sort of scares me. Now I question my skills as a parent. I have well-adjusted kids, yet I’m wondering… Are my kids on auto-pilot? Who is raising them? Am I over-watering them, too?
I need a drink.
Flow with me, let’s talk about this Strawberry-Vanilla Shrub Gin Cocktail.
A shrub? Isn’t that a bush of some sort?
What’s a shrub?
Glad you asked, homeslice. A shrub is a syrup made with fruit, sugar, and an acid – Like vinegar.
Back in the day, like back in Colonial Times when there was no refrigeration, folks made shrubs. It was a way to quench your thirst during super-hot summer days, pre-climate change and electricity.
In time, and once refrigeration became a staple in every American household, shrubs were sort of phased out. Yes, shrub recipes were passed down by great-grandmas. And yes, Colonial themed restaurants still rocked them – But for the most part, the shrub was eliminated from the American drink repertoire.
Now they’re making a comeback and I’m on that bandwagon.
I’ve been making shrubs for about five years, yet none of them have made it to the blog. I aim to change that.
I’m not sure.
I suffer from a bit of “puppy distracted by squirrel” brain sometimes.
Anyway, shrubs are super easy to make.
What do you need?
Fruit. You can use stone fruit, berries, or seeded fruit. Any fruit. Use a combination of fruit!
Sugar. It’s used to break down fruit. It’s also used to preserve it.
Vinegar. I urge you to start with a mild vinegar like apple cider or champagne; perhaps a combination of both. During one of my visits to TJMaxx, I found these super cool Cabernet and Zinfandel vinegars. If you have a TJMaxx near you, I urge you to visit their food section. You may score some great vinegars. Fairway also has a good selection of flavored vinegars.
There’s a hot method and a cold method of making shrubs. I used the cold method, ‘cause I’m lazy.
The cold method combines the fruit and sugar. The mixture is then placed in the fridge for about 24 hours. During these magical 24 hours the sugar breaks down the fruit and creates a syrup. The mixture is then strained and vinegar is stirred into the syrupy goodness.
You place the mixture back in the fridge, give it a stir once a day, and taste it. Taste until there’s a perfect balance of fruit-sugar-vinegar.
I know what you’re thinking – Why would I drink something that tastes like vinegar? I know. I get it. I do. That was me.
Shrubs are not super vinegary, though. In time the vinegar flavor mellows. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the more it mellows. Can you taste it? Yes, you can. Trust me. It balances perfectly with the fruit syrup.
And once you add booze – Gin this time – You won’t even care. It’s Strawberry Colonial Gin-n-Juice, y’all.
Super refreshing, mildly acidic. Fruity as fuck.
- 2 cups Strawberries hulled and quartered
- 2 cups Granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups Cabernet vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 1.5 to 2 ounces Gin
- Place the strawberries in a large bowl or container. Crush the berries lightly with a muddler or back of a spoon. Cover the fruit with granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours. After about 24 hours the fruit will be surrounded by syrup. Strain the fruit from the syrup, pressing down on the solids to extract as much syrup as possible. Discard the fruit or save it for another use. Add cabernet vinegar and stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about a week or so, stirring and tasting once per day until you reach desired flavor balance. At first the shrub will smell and taste super pungent. Don’t worry, it mellows with time and what you’ll have is a super cool balance of fruit, vinegar, and sugar. To serve – Add a couple of tablespoons of strawberry vanilla shrub to a glass. Add gin. Stir. Add ice and top with seltzer.