What’s a shrub? Think of it as a vinegar-based fruit syrup that can be used in myriad ways: as a cocktail mixer, as a refreshing cooler with sparkling water, or as a juice concentrate to ramp up the flavor of many dishes.
This drink is hundreds of years old and has recently become popular again. Brought from England by colonists, shrubs have a rich history in American cooking.
This blueberry shrub recipe is the definition of seriously simple. My dear friend and colleague Cynthia Graubart penned “Blueberry Love,” an homage to the versatile berry that you might find in a cooling soup, sauce for chicken, many desserts, and the following recipe.
Summer appears to be hanging on, so why not take a break and enjoy this refreshing beverage when it’s just too hot to do much? In these dog days of summer, try this delectable shrub with your favorite alcohol (sparkling wine and vodka come to mind) or perhaps some chilled sparkling water. It’s the perfect way to end a hot summer day.
Makes 12 to 14 drinks
- 4 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- Ice cubes or crushed ice, for serving
- Cold water or sparkling water
- Skewers of fresh blueberries, for garnish (optional)
Place the blueberries in a large nonmetallic bowl or container. Add the vinegar, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 3 days.
Pour the vinegar-marinated blueberries into a sieve over a medium saucepan. Press down on the berries to release all their juice. Discard the solids.
Stir the sugar into the juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the sweetened blueberry liquid into a container and chill.
To make each drink, add 1/4 cup of the blueberry shrub concentrate to a medium glass filled with ice and add 1 cup cold water or sparkling water. Garnish with a berry skewer, if desired.