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Summer Fruit Shrub Cocktail

Summer Fruit Shrub Cocktail

Shrubs also make for fabulous nonalcoholic drinks—just add soda for a tart, gulpable fruit drink.

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds ripe fruit (such as peaches, strawberries, plums, or pineapple)
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 6 ounces spirit of choice
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slice fruit into medium pieces. Reserve a few pieces for serving and add remaining to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain syrup into a bowl; stir in vinegar. Cover and chill shrub.

  • For each cocktail, shake 2 oz. shrub, 1½ oz. spirit of choice, and ½ oz. lemon juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until frosty. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass; top with some reserved fruit.

Reviews Section

Perfect Summer Watermelon Shrub

This is the perfect summer drink. If you truly love the sweet and refreshing taste of watermelon and simple recipes that make a big impact on your health, this drink is for you. My Perfect Summer Watermelon Shrub is made with ripe, organic watermelon, freshly pureed with honey and apple cider vinegar. All the ingredients combined make a watermelon syrup that can be used to flavor soda water or cocktails. I think it would make an amazing mimosa or watermelon margarita. If you want a great “mocktail”, this is perfect with soda water, muddled mint and a squeeze of lime.

My husband and I had a housewarming party over the weekend (it only took us two months) and I used the opportunity to test my recipes on my friends. I make sure my recipes not only taste great to me, but are crowd pleasers too. Everyone who tasted the Perfect Summer Watermelon Shrub loved it and wanted the recipe immediately. Sorry friends I made you wait )

A shrub is a vinegared syrup that was popular during the American Colonial Era. It’s also called a drinking vinegar that is infused with fruit, herbs and spices and is drank with water, soda water or spirits. I make my shrub the healthy way by sweetening it with honey and using raw apple cider vinegar.


Shrub Cocktail With Tequila + Pineapple

We are hitting all the right notes with our Shrub Cocktail with Tequila + Pineapple. This cocktail is made with homemade strawberry shrubs, sweet-n-sour mix, freshly squeezed lime juice, and sweet pineapple juice. The interplay of sour, slightly tart, and tropical fruity sweetness is as addictive as it is refreshing and downright delicious.


How to Make Shrubs at Home

Making your own shrubs is easy, and the flavor possibilities are endless. The process is similar to making simple syrup or homemade infusions, and there are two methods: cold and warm.

With either approach, the first step is to choose at least one ingredient from each of the following categories to create your custom shrub:

  • Sugar: As with simple syrup, you can experiment with the type of sugar. One may work better with a particular fruit-vinegar combination than others. White granulated sugar is perfectly fine to use. Some shrub makers prefer raw sugars like turbinado or demerara or even regular brown sugar.
  • Vinegar: The majority of shrubs are made with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. Some use balsamic vinegar. While distilled white vinegar is fine, the extra flavors of the other options are preferred.
  • Fruit: Berries are a favorite shrub fruit, though you can use almost any fruit. Apples, figs, pears, plums, and even cucumbers or rhubarb are good options.
  • Extra Flavorings: Herbs and spices add dimension to shrubs and are an optional ingredient. Basil, fennel, peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme are just a few that regularly appear in shrubs.

It's typical for shrubs to use two cups of fruit with two cups each of vinegar and sugar (this ratio can be adjusted to taste). Add herbs and spices to taste one tablespoon is a good place to start with most ingredients. This will yield a nice amount of shrub for experimentation and quite a few drinks. Once made, store shrubs in the refrigerator for up to six months.

When deciding which herbs and spices to pair with a particular fruit, think about natural flavor pairings. For instance, strawberry and basil work great together, and apple is very nice with either ginger or rosemary.


How To Make A Shrub, A.K.A. The Secret To Cocktails That Taste Like Summer

When I think of summer shrubs, I'm overcome with dread. I envision hours spent under the burning hot sun on my parents' lawn, balancing precariously on the top rung of a ladder while wielding a chainsaw trimmer. Thankfully, this is not that kind of shrub. This one is refreshing, it usually involves alcohol, and it requires very little physical labor, so . NO CONTEST.

Maybe you've had a shrub before (they make a mean shrub at The Library at The Public in New York) or maybe you haven't, but here's the gist: a shrub is a fancy name for a "drinking vinegar." Don't run away just yet. As Martha Holmberg explains in the summer issue of Sweet Paul Magazine:

Shrubs started as a household practicality. Back before refrigeration, fresh fruit would spoil quickly, but you could extend its life by piling it into a big crock with some sugar. The juice that came off the fruit was redolent with the bright flavor of the fruits in the crock, and after a few weeks it would ferment into vinegar.

In the modernized version below, however, you just add vinegar to your sweetened fruit rather than actually letting it ferment. You can make it with any fruit you want, add any herbs or spices you want, and mix it with whatever type of spirit or sparkling drink you want. It's basically a choose-your-own-adventure, no-rules type of recipe, perfect for scofflaws and anarchists.

So you see, the concept of a "shrub" is the base of the delicious-looking cocktails you'll find below (one is virgin, two are not). Sweet Paul Magazine has generously provided us with one incredibly versatile formula for a summer shrub that you can use in just about any application you can imagine, from drinking it shot-style to treating it as a cocktail mixer. Once you make a shrub, it'll last several months in your refrigerator. So go make the most of that summer produce and get a shrubbin.'

This method will work with any ripe, soft fruit, such as berries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may want to add a touch more sugar to taste.

Makes about 1 1/2 pints
1 lb fruit
1 lb sugar (white cane sugar is the most versatile, but you could use a turbinado or muscovado sugar if you want a more caramel taste)
1 pint vinegar (white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar and sherry vinegar are delicious)
other flavorings (optional see page 113 for ideas)

1. Sort through your fruit to remove any leaves or moldy bits.
2. Rinse the fruit if it’s dusty for stone fruits, peel, pit, and roughly chop.
3. Pile the fruit in a large bowl, add the sugar, and toss together.
4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Give the mixture a stir once in awhile.
5. Line a colander or large strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a wide-mouth jar or another clean bowl.
6. Ladle the fruit and juices into the colander and strain the juice into the jar below press on the fruit solids to extract as much juice as possible.
7. Mix the sweetened juice with the vinegar.
8. Taste the shrub—it should be quite tart, but pleasantly so. Stir in more sugar or vinegar to get the flavor you want.
9. If using other flavorings, add them now. They’ll infuse into the finished shrub as it sits.
10. Pour the shrub into clean bottles or jars and seal.
11. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Makes 1 drink
2 oz gin or vodka
1 oz raspberry shrub
soda water
4 to 5 fresh raspberries
sprig of fresh rosemary
lavender blossom

1. Fill a wide rocks glass with ice.
2. Add the gin or vodka and the shrub, and stir to mix.
3. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with the raspberries, rosemary, and lavender.

Makes 1 drink
2 oz bourbon
1 oz peach shrub made with muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker or a jar and shake vigorously until the egg whites are foamy.
2. Add some cracked ice and shake another 30 seconds.
3. Strain into a pretty cocktail glass.
4. Top with a Johnny Jump Up or other edible flower.

Makes 1 drink
2 oz blackberry shrub
soda water
pared lemon zest, wide piece
sprig of fresh thyme

1. Fill a tall glass with ice.
2. Add the shrub and top with soda water.
3. Twist the lemon peel over the top and drop in the drink.
4. Garnish with thyme.

All recipes and photos courtesy of Sweet Paul Magazine.

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Summer Shrub Recipes

Are shrubs something that line your driveway? Perhaps, but they’re also a delicious sweetened vinegar-based syrup you use in drinks, over fruit, or anywhere a well-balanced fruit or herb-based syrup will add some pizzaz.

In America, shrubs originated in the colonial era as a means of preserving fruit in the off-season. By the 19th century, it was typical to pour vinegar over fruit – usually berries – and allow them to infuse overnight or for days. Afterward, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and reduced to make a syrup. When home refrigeration became the norm, Americans lost interest in shrubs.

With the cocktail revival movement, bartenders began experimenting with traditional recipes and in the last five or ten years, shrubs are back in vogue.

In honor of Rochester’s Cocktail Revival week, we featured two shrubs using F. Oliver’s sublime balsamics. Our guide and creator in this endeavor is Evan Clark of Bitter Honey . (Evan is in the foreground of the photo). Included are Evan’s take on a couple of classic cocktails but these shrubs are fabulous in still or sparkling water.


3 Summer Beverages That Prove That "Mocktail Hour" is the New Cocktail Hour

The word "mocktail" makes me cringe.਎ven typing the title, I felt a little twitch thinking of the watered down, overly sweet drinks I&aposve come to associate the term with. Too often, mocktails are mixed with the same ratios as a cocktail, but without the necessary balance lended by gin or vodka.

On the flip side, I love cocktails—more specifically, "cocktail hour," the time around 6 o&aposclock when Jonah and I transition from our workdays into our evenings, with a walk orꂾverage on our porch before dinner. The only problem is, I have a ridiculously low tolerance and don&apost love how alcohol makes me feel (something I&aposve written about quite a bit here). Though I love the taste, I can barely enjoy one drink, before feeling groggy or, honestly, drunk. And I could do without the impact it has on my sleep.

A few months ago, I started creating my own mocktails concocted from slightly sour berry-soaked shrubs, bright citrus and mint, and rosemary-infused simple syrup. What I found is that the practice of having a cocktail hour is just as much about the routine as it is the beverage. No longer cringe-worthy, below are three not-too-sweet drinks perfect for mocktail hour:

Mixed Berry Shrub with Sparkling Water

I love shrubs and drinking vinegars, but the fact that they&aposre easy to make came as something of an epiphany to me this year—just be sure to start your shrub at least 24 hours in advance, to allow the flavors to meld. I usually start mine on Friday afternoon, to have the shrub ready by Sunday. 

1 pound ripe mixed berries (I use blackberries or blueberries and raspberries, generally)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup berry shrub
1 cup sparkling water
Mint, as garnish

1. Add the berries and sugar to a glass bowl, and mash with a fork to incorporate. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.

2. Stir, add vinegar, and put back in the fridge for another hour, or up to a few days. The longer you leave it, the better, so the vinegar can take on the flavor of the berries. Strain your shrub through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bottle or Mason jar to use as a concentrate for mocktails or cocktails. (Optional: Reserve berries to add to a pie or add to yogurt with granola. They&aposre slightly tart from the vinegar, and might be a bit mashed from straining, but still edible and delicious!)

3. To make a simple mocktail, pour roughly 2 tablespoons into a glass glass and top with 1 cup sparkling water and some ice򠫝 some mint as garnish if you&aposre feeling fancy!

Ginger-Mint Refresher

A mocktail that takes its inspiration from refreshing mint-based drinks, like Moscow Mules and caipirinhas. I make this with either kombucha or ginger beer, both of which are technically fermented, but won&apost make you feel a buzz. 

4 fresh mint leaves
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1/2 to 1 lime
4 ounces ginger beer or ginger kombucha
Lime wedge, as garnish

1. Muddle mint in a highball glass. 

2. Add lime juice, followed by ginger beer or kombucha. Garnish with a lime wedge!

Citrus and Rosemary "Paloma"

The original inspiration for this recipe came from this "Healthy Grapefruit Paloma Mocktail" Ashlea&aposs blog All Healthy Things. Her idea to mix grapefruit and lime juice yields a bright, citrusy drink I&aposve come to love. While she adds maple syrup as her sweetener, I add in David Leibovitz&aposs rosemary simple syrup, which is delicious with the grapefruit!

For the rosemary simple syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

2 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce rosemary simple syrup
Rosemary spring, as garnish
Sparkling water (optional)

1. To make the rosemary simple syrup, add the sugar, water, and rosemary to a small saucepan and heat to just below a simmer. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, strain the syrup into a jar and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

2. To make the mocktail, you can either drink it as a spritz or straight up: Add the citrus juice and simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake, then either strain into a cocktail glass adorned with a sprig of rosemary, or add to a highball glass and top with ice and sparkling water. 


Enroll in the Shrub Making Course here!

Strawberry Pineapple Shrub Recipe

Strawberry Pineapple shrub is an easy preserve that is a perfect cocktail mixer and it elevates sparkling water infinitely. The vinegar and sugar combined with the fruit make a bright and flavorful syrup with very little effort and this is the perfect shrub for beginners because it is simple to make. I enjoy mine with sparkling water (the lemon flavored kind is a tasty addition) and with a shot of tequila. It’s not as foreign a flavor as my delicious Rhubarb Pineapple Balsamic Shrub so I’d say it’s the better of the two to start with if you are shrub-uninitiated. This particular shrub also is the prettiest pink color. Read on, Dear Readers!

Pineapple Core Shrub

This post will share how to use the part of the pineapple that is so often tossed or composted and thus saves and makes terrific use of it to make a delicious, flavorful shrub. Read on to see how one magic step makes the core the best part of the shrub!

Blood Orange Balsamic Shrub

Blood Orange Balsamic Shrub is the second shrub I have crafted with balsamic vinegar. The other recipes I have shared use apple cider vinegar and that is a much more mild tasting vinegar. Balsamic is bold both in flavor and in color and when added with blood oranges and plain white sugar it creates a strong but delicious shrub. This mixes so, so well with unflavored sparkling water and in a cocktail with bourbon.

Shrubology Ebook

What the heck are shrubs? They aren’t just bushes in your front yard. They are Prohibition Era fruit and vinegar syrups that are SUPER easy to make (truly, they are NO COOK) and you can make them in a jar on your countertop. This ebook will teach you HOW to make shrubs out of any quantity of fruit, using super versatile ratios for whatever is in the fridge!

Apple Shrub

This post will share with you a super simple apple shrub recipe that will help you transition from sweltering summer days to cooler fall nights. Apple Shrub is a great recipe because it takes just one apple of any variety, is fun to spice up with cinnamon or a few dissolved red-hot candies, and mixed with whiskey. It is a cocktail that will transition your beverage game right into autumn.

Honey Strawberry Shrub: A Perfect Pair with Sparkling Water

A shrub is one of the simplest types of preserve. I have fallen in love with them and I want you to come along with me. There’s no hot water bath, no fermentation bubbles (though those would be exciting!) and the only real virtue required is patience. It takes about a week on the countertop for this beginner-friendly preserve but the results are so worth it. Shrubs are an excellent addition to water (and really, who is drinking enough? Not me…) and are sublime when added to a cocktail.

27 Recipe Mixology Matrix

This beautiful, printable guide gives a budding, homemade cocktail mixologist a 27 recipe guide for homemade mixers and countless ways to mix them into cocktails or mocktails sure to impress and refresh. Read on for how to create farmer’s market fresh drinks quickly and easily all year round!

1 Hour Homemade Coffee Liqueur

I know this is NOT a shrub BUT this is a fantastic recipe that you will love. This 1-hour homemade coffee liqueur recipe can be prepared and dispensed into bottles for gifting or enjoying yourself in an hour. It is a simple recipe that my mother has used for years and this coffee liqueur is delicious both hot or cold in a variety of mixed drinks. It also is easily doubled and is best made with friends. Read on for a delicious homemade coffee liqueur recipe that won’t have you tied up in the kitchen all afternoon!

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Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups

Shrubs are an old-fashioned way of preserving fruit, but we find them seriously delicious today. Sweet-tart homemade shrub syrup can be sipped on its own with seltzer, or you can add a little dark rum.

Whether raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, or gooseberry, berries seem to fly through our local market, gone before you even know to miss them. I decided last year to preserve them for my future pleasure.

Now, this ain't Home Canning 101, so there'll be no jams, jellies, or marmalades here. I'm a cocktail geek and among my clan there's a great love for shrub syrups, and that's what we'll be talking about today.

What's a Shrub?

In beverage history, the word shrub has carried several meanings. For our purposes, it's enough to say that a shrub is an acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients. Where things get complicated is that the acid varies by recipe it can be either fruit juice or vinegar. Additionally, some shrub recipes are prepared using alcohol that steeps with the fruit, acid, and sugar. Finally, hardcore shrubbers make their own vinegar, using fruit juice, sugar, and wild yeasts from the air.

In any case, the sugar, acid, and optional alcohol preserve the fruit juice, and in fact that was one original purpose of the shrub. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days.

A proper shrub has a flavor that's both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst. The advent of industrially processed foods and home refrigeration combined to nearly eliminate the shrub from American foodways. Only family traditions, Colonial-themed establishments (such as City Tavern in Philadelphia), and a few holdout farms (Tait Farms, for one) have helped the shrub survive.

Happily, they're very easy to make at home, and for beverage lovers (of the boozy or non-boozy variety), they're also quite versatile. And, if you're up for a summer (and fall) of shrub-making, you can start with strawberries when they come into season, and move straight through all of the summer's berries and fruits.

I made so many last summer that my wife was amused (and a little irritated) at all the bottles in the fridge. The laugh's on her now that she's pregnant and abstaining from alcohol, I have an ample supply of fruity and tart syrups ready for her NA quaffing.

So visit your nearest farm stand, gather up your other ingredients, and read on.

Shrubbing Ingredients

You have three essential ingredients to play around with:

  • Fruit: berries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, apricots. Go crazy. Start with the most perfect and pristine specimens you can find, utterly without blemish or flaw. Wait, scratch that. Do the exact opposite of what I just said. You're making a syrup here, not presenting a fruit basket to a movie star. Ask around at your farmer's market, and see whether any vendor will sell you their seconds—the fruit that might ordinarily wind up back at the farm in a compost pile. This is perfect for syrup-making and should save you some money.
  • Sugar: I always use basic refined cane sugar. Why? Only because I've never gotten around to trying turbinado or other fancy brown sugars. They're on my list of future variations to test out, so if you've tried them, let me know your results. But start with cane sugar to master the technique, and then branch out later if you wish.
  • Vinegar:I usually use either red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. I find they're less bland than white vinegar but don't add too much funkiness to the final product. Some shrubbers have used balsamic to great success. Here's an example of a Black Cherry Balsamic Shrub that sounds fabulous, especially with the addition of peppercorn and cinnamon.

Shrubbing Methods: Pros and Cons

Now, before I describe my method for shrub making, I have to say, it's not the only way to do it. It may not even be the easiest way to make a shrub, and it's certainly not the fastest. If you look at most other sources for shrub recipes, you'll find that they call for a stove-cooked syrup—essentially, a fruity simple syrup with vinegar added in at the end.

That works well, and by all means, if that's what you want to do, I won't magically appear in your kitchen and stop you. After all, it's quick and easy:

  1. Add equal parts of sugar and water to a saucepan, and heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add berries or fruit and simmer until the fruit's juice blends well into the syrup.
  3. Let that mixture cool. Strain out the solids.
  4. Add vinegar to the syrup, bottle it all up, and store in the fridge.

That's exactly how I once made shrubs. But in July of last year, I was at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Fellow Serious Drinker Paul Clarke was leading a seminar on aperitif cocktails. His co-panelist was Neyah White, a former bartender who now works for Skyy Spirits, which imports Suntory whiskey, among other brands.

The topic meandered briefly from the topic of aperitifs to that of shrubs, and Neyah described the cold process he uses for shrub-making. Neyah, it turns out, advocates against cooking a shrub syrup, feeling that you lose some of the freshness and brightness of the fruit. So instead, he macerates fresh fruit in sugar—for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The sugar slowly draws the juices out of the fruit and makes a syrup. You strain that off the fruit and mix the resulting syrup with vinegar.

The tradeoff here, at least from Neyah's perspective, is time versus flavor. The cold process takes longer but the fruit flavor remains purer and brighter. I started making shrubs this way right after Tales, and I've never gone back to the cooked process.

Cold Shrubbin' with Flavor

Now, the cold-process method of shrub-making is a little more complicated than the cooked method, but really, it's not much so. You don't need any special equipment or ingredients, and as long as you have space in your fridge to stash a bowl of fruit, you should be fine.

  1. Wash and prepare the fruit. Most berries can be lightly crushed, even with your hands, if you prefer. Strawberries should be hulled and quartered. Stone fruit needs to be quartered and pitted.
  2. Cover the fruit with sugar. Neyah White recommends a ratio of one part each of fruit, sugar, and vinegar, and that's a great place to start. So to, say, one cup of fruit, add one cup sugar. Stir to combine, cover, and stash in the fridge.

  1. After several hours, or a day or two, your fruit should be surrounded by juice and syrup, like so:

  1. Strain the syrup away from the solids, pressing lightly on the solids to expel any stubborn juice. If any sugar is clinging to the bowl, scrape it into the syrup. It should settle to the bottom, underneath the syrup. This is fine, as I'll explain later.

  1. Add the vinegar, and whisk to combine, until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour through a funnel into a clean bottle. Cap, shake well, and refrigerate.
  3. Check the shrub periodically. Some sugar may settle out onto the bottom of the bottle. If so, shake well to combine. Eventually, the acids in the juice and vinegar will dissolve the sugar.

Now taste. What you will undoubtedly find is that the aroma and flavor of your new shrub is pungent. You'll taste a strong tartness from the vinegar, a strong sweetness from the sugar, and the fruit flavor as an element that pulls everything together.

What fascinates me, at least, about shrubs is that they mellow with time. And I mean, they mellow a lot. The tartness and sweetness both remain, but they start to harmonize after just a few weeks in the fridge. So what you have is a lightly sweet and tart syrup with a rich fruit flavor.

And something else is going on chemically that I think is cool: you see, the whosiwhatsis engages with the frim-fram. oh, I'll let the resident chemist at the blog Cocktail Virgin Slut explain:

"When a shrub ages, it is like an ecosystem. The ambient yeast (yeast on the fruit itself and yeast from the air) turns the sugar into alcohol, and the acetobacter (the bacteria in unpasteurized vinegar) turns the alcohol into more vinegar. Eventually this will stabilize and not turn the whole shrub into fruit vinegar since the bacteria-induced pH change will stall out the yeast's fermentation process (and thus the bacteria's acetic acid-producing pathway)."

Okay, Professor, I'll take your word for it.

How to Use Shrubs

Shrubs can add depth and complexity to a cocktail, but you have to be careful. Since they're already acidic, they don't always play well with citrus juice, so if you're adding juice, use a light hand and taste as you're building your ingredients.

Try using a base spirit, a shrub, a complementary liqueur, and bitters—for example, rum, blackberry shrub, ginger liqueur, and lime bitters. You'll have to consider how the sweetness of the shrub balances out with the sweet liqueur—just experiment until you have the right balance.

Finally, for a light and refreshing cocktail, perfect for summer, pair a small amount of shrub (about half an ounce) with 2 ounces of vermouth or sherry. Top that with some seltzer or club soda, and you have a light and lovely treat. And it's so low in alcohol, you have two!

Bonus link: Amy Eddings, from the New York public-radio station WNYC, describes an encounter with Beet and Lemon Shrub, at Russ and Daughters, one of my very favorite places in the long history of places. If you've tried this Beet Shrub, please sound off in the comments. I would love to know what it's like.


Formula 2: Sours

The sour formula is the root of many cocktails, including margaritas and mules, perhaps because it&aposs so easy to remember and so simple to adapt. All you need:

  • 1½ ounces liquor
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup (or other sweet element)
  • ¾ ounce lemon/lime juice (or other sour element)

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice strain and serve in a martini glass or over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add club soda and call it a fizz. Or build it in a tall glass with club soda and call it a Collins. Or try these variations:

Apricot Moscow Mule

Fill a copper mug with crushed ice. Add 3 ounces vodka, 1½ ounces Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe below), 1½ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice, and half of a thinly sliced apricot. Top with 4 ounces club soda and a squeezed lime wedge. Stir well. Makes 1 (1-cup) cocktail and enough Ginger Simple Syrup for 3 more.

Spicy Watermelon Margarita

Purພ 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon in a blender. Wipe the rim of a margarita glass with a lime wedge dip rim into kosher salt or coarse white decorating sugar. In a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice, add 2 ounces of the watermelon purພ, 1½ ounces silver tequila, ¾ ounce Cointreau, ¾ ounce lime juice, and 1 slice jalapeño. Shake until very cold. Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a watermelon wedge or melon balls and a jalapeño slice — or simply float a jalapeño slice on top of drink. Makes 1 (¾-cup) cocktail and enough watermelon purພ for 4 more.

Clover Club

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 5 fresh raspberries and 1 sprig fresh thyme. Add 1½ ounces gin, 1 pasteurized egg white or 1 ounce pasteurized liquid egg whites, ¾ ounce simple syrup, and ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice. Shake until mixture no longer sounds sloshy. (You will feel a lot of pressure.) Add ice to fill shaker half-full. Shake again until very cold. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Dust top with cinnamon, or garnish with lemon zest curl or additional thyme. Makes 1 (¾-cup) cocktail. Note: The foam on top begins to break down after about 10 minutes, so be sure to take a photo of your Clover Club, then drink it up before that happens.