A shrub is an old cocktail term either referring to a liqueur made with bitter orange peel (like Rhum Clement’s incredible product, Creole Shrubb) or a vinegared syrup infused with botanicals. Most of the shrubs called for in cocktails are the latter, and there is something exquisite and oddly complex about the blend of sweet and acid that really works for me. I have made several shrubs, and they are very simple. Apparently, vinegar was added to fruits and herbs in the past as a means to preserve their flavour beyond their relatively short spoilage dates.
Pictured above is a chilli-lime shrub from the current issue of Imbibe (#54, March/April, 2015). I have also made a Concord grape shrub in the fall for PDT’s incredible Paul’s Club. All that is needed is sugar, apple cider vinegar and the botanicals. So simple.