Strawberry and rhubarb are the classic combination of sweet and tart. I adore how Gayle used this strawberry rhubarb finishing vinegar to shrub it up. Weekend cocktails, done! -Maggie
We’ve all known pregnant women who crave pickles and ice cream and a whole host of other foods – my mother ate enough carrots to tinge her skin orange – but it was my friend’s puckery vinegar cravings during her first trimester that introduced me to the shrub.
Dating back to pre-refrigeration days, these drinking vinegars grew out of necessity: sugar was added to crocks of fresh fruit to slow spoilage and the mixture fermented. Just like spreading berry preserves in the dead of winter, spiking sparkling water (or a more adult potable) extends the flavors of warmer months year round.
Popular in colonial America, shrubs have made a comeback, showing up on cocktail menus everywhere. Suspender-clad, sleeve-gartered, cap-askewed hipster bartenders aside, shrubs are worth a second look. You can make them at home, but before pulling out the strainer and funnel and cleaning up messes of sticky berry juices, try Wozz’s. <Buy your own>
Despite having never had a shrub in my life, when gifted this this spiced strawberry rhubarb finishing vinegar, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I poured a few spoonfuls of the tawny rose syrup, thin enough to drizzle but thick enough to leave a slick on the spoon, into a glass and filled it with sparkling water. Suitable for finishing a salad or de-glazing a pan into a gastrique, the vinegar wasn’t quite sweet enough for drinking, so I dropped in a sugar cube (or two!) for some extra fizz.
P.S. I think congratulations are in order – I managed to get through the past three paragraphs about shrubs without a single topiary reference!
Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub
Makes 1 drink
- 2-3 tablespoons finishing vinegar (I used Wozz!)
- 1/2 cup sparkling water
- 1 large sugar cube (or 3-4 little Domino ones – approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar)
- 1 thinly sliced strawberry, for garnish
- Pour the finishing vinegar into a pretty glass.
- Add the sparkling water.
- Drop in your sugar, and watch the drink fizz.
- Float some strawberry slices on top, and enjoy!
Photos styled and taken by Gayle Squires.
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