Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shrub

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If this looks frosty and fizzy and fruity and delicious, that’s because it totally is.  I just have to share this with you, and maybe you’ve already heard about it (in which case, where was I while this was being discussed?  Hmmm?) but if you haven’t heard about it yet, here you go, and I know you’ll thank me for this.  You’re welcome. 

This is Shrub.  I don’t know why.  When you buy this in bottles, it is what we here in New York call “soda” and what they in my hometown in Michigan call “pop” and what the people in between call “soda-pop.”  And you make it yourself, from whatever fresh fruit is lying around your freezer or overflowing your garden, a little sugar, and vinegar.  I know!  Stay with me, it’s worth it. 

There are recipes in abundance, all over the internet, and you can track one down in a jiffy, so I won’t bore you with that here.  Take it from me; all you need to do is dump two cups of fresh/frozen fruit, slightly mushed up, and two cups of sugar into a bowl, and let them sit for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.  Believe me, it doesn’t matter. When it has turned all juicy, strain out the fruit and mix in 1-2 cups best quality apple cider vinegar.  This is important!  Don’t just use the stuff you clean your pool with, it has to be really good vinegar.  Try Bragg, which is the one I’ve used, and which is also the one mostly mentioned in the recipes I found.  (If you’ve got a better apple cider vinegar than Bragg, I want to know about it.)  Stir the syrup and the vinegar together and store it indefinitely in the refrigerator it in a glass jar with a plastic lid.  Yes, I said indefinitely!  I know! 

You might have to be kind of a fan of vinegar to really love this concoction.  I am a huge fan of vinegar, which goes everywhere around my house, from the bathtub to the soup pot.  Vinegar is a magical substance, second only in wondrousness to baking soda—I don’t even know what I’d do without baking soda—and I think it’s delicious.  If you’re skeptical, go with the 1 cup measure and see how you feel about it.  It’s supposed to be a little bit tangy; you’re supposed to notice the vinegar, but also the fruit.  Not too fruity, not too sweet, not too vinegary.  Something happens to this combination when they are blended together, and it becomes sublime, I don’t know how else to describe it. 

Okay, so you’ve got your Shrub—now, to serve it, you fill up a big glass with ice, pour in about two ounces of Shrub (or about 1/4 of the glass) and then fill it all the rest of the way up with sparkling water, club soda, whatever you call it where you are.  Bubbly water.  Give it a quick stir, and add a straw. 

100_0364-001a You won’t believe how good it is.  So easy.  So fizzy!  This one is blueberry, and I did a peach one, too, but that didn’t last long enough to photograph.  You can use any fruit you want.  Somebody suggested a watermelon/basil combo, which is totally happening here, as soon as I get my hands on a watermelon.  Oh, summer on the patio, wearing a big floppy hat and flip-flops, I am so ready.