One of the most exciting things I’ve made so far this year is a Shrub. If you’re completely confused, don’t worry because I’ll be talking much more about them in my next post and sharing complete step by step photos and instructions for how to make them. All you need to know right now is that in this instance a ‘shrub’ is not that bush out in the garden. It’s an old-school preserving technique where fruit is macerated with sugar until a syrup forms and then it’s fortified with vinegar. Shrubs are making a comeback big time. You can make them using almost any fruit (or combination of fruit and herbs) that you like or is in season.
They are lovely mixed with vodka and soda like a grown up cordial, or used in a cocktail as I’ve done here. My favourite shrub experiment so far has been the peach version, which I’ve already made several times. The flavours just scream summer. The vinegar brightens the fruit syrup, giving it a funky tart edge that is perfectly balanced. Mixed with soda or tonic water, I think it’s a perfect aperitif because it really gets your tastebuds going and ready for the meal ahead.
I’ve long loved the combination of peaches and bourbon, but I also love peaches and raspberries together as in the classic Peach Melba dessert. This month’s installment of Thursday Tipples is a celebration of just that, all smashed together in a lovely summer cocktail. The drink had a pretty pink hue because of the raspberries and was completely delicious and a little surprising. The shrub goes so wonderfully well with the bourbon, giving it an intriguing quality that will have all your friends asking for your secret ingredient. I’ll definitely be making this again and again. Stay tuned for my next post all about Shrubs with a full tutorial of how to make your own!
Related: Peach Melba Panna Cotta
Peach Melba Smash
- Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1/2 yellow peach, cut into slices (or use the macerated peaches from the shrub)
- 45ml Peach Shrub (full recipe in next post)
- 45ml Bourbon
- 30ml Chambord
- Ice cubes and crushed ice
- Splash of ginger beer, optional
- Extra raspberries, to garnish
Fill a glass with crushed ice. Place raspberries, peach slices and peach shrub into the glass of a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add bourbon, Chambord and ice cubes and shake hard, until the shaker is too cold to touch. Double strain over crushed ice, add a splash of ginger beer if you like and garnish with extra raspberries.