There’s something truly satisfying about a good homemade drink—whether it’s something familiar like lemonade, a tasty cocktail, or a unique non-alcoholic cocktail (which can be just as fun as a traditional cocktail). And they’re even better when you make them using fresh, organic ingredients. You can brush up on your DIY bartender skills by creating a delicious vinegar shrub that highlights fresh fruit.
Vinegar shrubs—which are combinations of vinegar, fruit, sugar, herbs, and spices—are the perfect syrups to make at home because they pack tons of flavor and are healthier than any syrup you’ll find at the store. Plus, you can get creative with your shrub by adding new ingredients, experimenting with unique spices, and trying different fruits.
Vinegar shrubs are made using two different methods: cold or hot. As the names imply, the cold method blends your ingredients without heat, and the hot method combines everything on the stove. Cold method shrubs are the most traditional but require a few days to sit before they’re ready. They tend to use equal ratios of every ingredient—so a pound each of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Try the hot method if you’re short on time and need your shrub quickly, like for an upcoming dinner party. The ratio here is a little different: one pound fruit with one cup each of water, sugar, and vinegar. No matter which method you use, your finished shrub will keep in the fridge for several months.
Your fruit and spice options are endless for shrubs, so you can truly customize it to your taste. But, for watery fruits like melons, make sure to use the cold method. For jam fruits like apricots and apples, the hot method will work just as well as the cold. You can also mix and match vinegar and sugar types, depending on the flavor profile you’d like.
Ready to get started? Try one of these three easy shrub recipes: