Also known as drinking vinegars, shrubs and switchels are the new sodas -- and the secret to stamping any craft cocktail or mocktail with your (newly monogrammed) signature. A uniquely American throwback to the 1800s, these fizzy, vinegary, fermented fruit mixers are known for being summer in a glass: bright, refreshing, cooling, and good for the gut, not to mention endlessly delicious. As my friend Denise at Chez Us once said: "Now, every time I look at the fruit aisle, I'm thinking, 'Can I shrub that?'"
The most "complicated" on our list of craft cocktail DIYs, making shrubs and switchels is still just a matter of stirring the pot -- literally and metaphorically -- then straining and storing. A good rule for ratio on any shrub is 1 pound fruit, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup vinegar. Basically, you're going to make a simple syrup, add fruit, simmer, strain out the solids, and add vinegar.
Switchel is even easier, basically just steeping vinegar overnight. Food52 has a wonderful, more in-depth guide to DIY shrubs (both hot process and cold process); Bon Appetit has your end-all switchel recipe. Shrubs pair best in fizzy cocktails with Champagne or Prosecco; switchels pair best in cocktails with aged rum.
Try making these recipes:
- Blackberry Rum Shrub by Saveur
- Pear Ginger Shrub* by Relish
- Cherry Vanilla Maple Shrub by Bojon Gourmet
- Cranberry Shrub by David Leibovitz
- Nectarine Rosemary Honey Shrub by The Kitchen McCabe
- Green Jalapeno Pineapple Shrub by Chez Us
Our Favorite Cocktail Recipe:
Pear Ginger Spritz Cocktail
- 4 oz dry Prosecco (or other sparkling white wine)
- 1 oz Pear Ginger Shrub*
- Club Soda
- Pear Slices, Candied Ginger (for serving)
- Pour Prosecco into an ice-filled large wine or rocks glass
- Add shrub and top off with club soda
- Gently stir together; garnish with pear slices and candied ginger