If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that my housemate and I are massive vinegar nuts. We have a whole cupboard of them – at least a dozen kinds. So when I first read about fruit shrubs, you bet I was going to try it myself and we totally fell in love. Ever since, we usually have at least one kind on hand in the fridge at all times for summer evening drinking.
Today I’d love to show you How to Make a Fruit Shrub of your own. As summer draws to a close, now is the perfect time to be preserving your favourite fruit in shrub form. We love them mixed with vodka and soda like a grown up cordial, or used in a cocktails like the Peach Melba Smash.
So what on earth is a shrub?
I touched on this briefly in my last post, but if you missed it, a ‘shrub’ is a fruit syrup that uses vinegar to preserve it. Also sometimes known as ‘drinking vinegars’ they go waaaay back in history and have been making a comeback in recent years with bartenders including them on cocktail menus, and lots of people trying them out at home.
Where you can get really creative is the pairing of different fruits with different vinegars. For my peach version I used a white wine vinegar and for the mixed berry I went with a nice balsamic. But think of how lovely champagne vinegar would be with strawberries or sherry vinegar could be with cherries. The possibilities are endless and there’s tons of room to experiment and try out your favourites. Almost any fruit would work and your future cocktails will thank you.
How to Make a Fruit Shrub
You will need
- 1-2 cups of fruit (your choice)
- Equal amount of sugar
- Up to 1/2 cup vinegar
- Airtight glass jar with lid
- 1L jug
- Fine sieve
Step 1. Prepare by sterilising your jar. I like to fill a sink with boiling water and submerge the jar and lids, then leave to dry for a few minutes in a low oven. Give your fruit a quick wash and pat dry. Chop fruit if necessary and place into the jars. I used 2 peaches and about 1 cup of mixed berries for the two kinds we are making today.
Step 2. You will need roughly equal quantities of chopped fruit and sugar. Place the sugar into the jar with the fruit and give it a shake. Leave on your kitchen counter for 2-5 days depending on the temperature where you live. The process will be quicker in warm weather. Give the jar a shake whenever you think of it.
Step 3. After a few days you will see the syrup has extracted from the fruit. I waited 3 days. Using a fine sieve, strain the syrup into a 1L jug, pressing down on the fruit to extract as much juice as possible.
Step 4. Add vinegar to taste. For the peach version I used White Wine vinegar and for the Berry one I used Balsamic. You can start with 1/4 cup and add more as you need. Keep tasting and tweaking the syrup until you’re excited about the result.
Store in an air-tight glass bottle or jar in the fridge for up to 3 months. They generally keep very well, but use your judgement. If it goes cloudy or doesn’t smell right after a while, throw it out. Use it to make the Peach Melba Smash or just enjoy with soda.