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Drinking a Dash of Vinegar: 9 Shrub Recipes for the Summer

Sunday, October 23, 2016

My DH's chiropractor recommends drinking a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar every morning!

"Drinking vinegar is back in vogue and it's not just because its distinct zing can curl your mustache. Mixing a tinge of vinegar into your drink or cocktail can add some complexity and savory overtones that may just have you coming back for more.

Try some of these recipes below and see if this shrub's for you."


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.


If you've never had a shrub before, it's just about the most refreshing thing you can think to drink - especially in the summer. It starts with a syrup that's a combination of vinegar, fruit, and sugar. The fruit tastes like its truest self and the vinegar cuts right through it. Add it to a glass, then bubbles to make it bright. The alcohol is optional, but awfully good.

You can make a shrub two ways: the hot way (fresh fruit simmered in simple syrup) and the cold way (fresh fruit tossed with sugar and left to sit for a few days)

Shrubs are a matter of ratio: The sweet spot (the sweet-tart spot, that is) is a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. A good place to start for cold process shrub is 1 pound chopped fruit, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups vinegar; for the heated process, go for 1 pound fruit, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup vinegar. Each method should yield about 3 cups of shrub syrup.


Let this mixture sit, covered securely with a dishtowel, on your kitchen counter for about 2 days. Stir once a day. It should start to look very juicy. After 2 days, strain the mixture into a measuring cup, discard the fruit, then combine the syrup with approximately an equal amount of vinegar (again, your choice, but cider vinegar is a good place to start) - but do this slowly, tasting as you go so that you get a shrub that is just sharp enough for you - especially with a zingier fruit like raspberries or citrus. That's it! Pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge.

For a hot process, make a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add your sliced fruit and bring the syrup-fruit mixture to a low simmer. Let it bubble away until the syrup has become the color of the fruit and the fruit looks tired. Stir in the vinegar and bring the mixture just to a simmer; strain out and discard the fruit (or serve it over vanilla ice cream), and pour the shrub into a jar. Keep it in the fridge
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I use apple cider vinegar for GERD and it works.
    912 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    913 days ago
    I heard it was great for reflux as well
    913 days ago
    I used to drink a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar after lunch and dinner for several; years. It sounds crazy but it did help with my acid reflux.
    913 days ago
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