Shrubs (derived from the Arabic sharāb meaning ‘to drink’) are an intriguing blend of fruit, sugar, and vinegar that capture the sweetness of fruit or the scent of aromatics, whilst delivering a tangy bite that refreshes the palate. Their origin stretches back to Roman occupation as medicinals, becoming hugely popular in 17th & 18th centuries in English public houses mixed with sherry or rum, before falling out of favour. A revival in bars across the US this century has seen their use increase in cocktail recipes and here at Thyme the making of shrubs has become an important part of preserving the seasonal produce from the farm. There is nothing more evocative of everything summer than the strawberry, this shrub also uses rose petals for colour and fragrance. It is really important when cooking with flowers to ensure that they have not been sprayed, source from your own or a friend's garden and if that isn't possible a reliable supplier of edible flowers.
Ensure all your equipment is thoroughly sterilised and for long-term storage keep your shrub in a cool dark place.
- 200ml strawberries; hull & quartered
- 100ml scented rose petals
- 125ml sugar
- 250ml apple cider vinegar
- Place strawberries, rose petals & sugar into a large jar. Fasten lid and shake to combine.
- Place in refrigerator, allowance to macerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- Pass through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, to remove the solids.
- Combine the strained syrup & vinegar in a Mason jar. Shake to dissolve the remaining sugar.
- Place back in the refrigerator for approximately a week before use.
- Fill a long glass with ice.
- Pour over one measure of the shrub to two measures of gin, we love Pinkster to add a bit more colour.
- Top with sodawater for the perfect summer’s cocktail.