Strawberry Balsamic Shrubs
Shrubs are sweetened fruit vinegars. They are an important ingredient in many sweet 'n tart summer thirst quenchers and cocktails. I discovered shrubbing last summer too late to try this recipe using local strawberries, so testing this idea required some patience on my part. It was worth it. Aged balsamic with fresh strawberries is a classic pairing, and the combination makes an amazing shrub, very tasty indeed.
This piece on serious eats is a great resource for learning about making shrubs. There are several different approaches to shrubbing, and the article explains the pros and cons of each.
I prefer not to cook the berries, the process takes a little longer, but I like the flavour better. I've also found that the acidity mellows nicely with age, so I let the mixture sit for a week or so before drinking.
I'm using equal parts chopped fresh berries, raw cane sugar, and a nice (not a primo) balsamic vinegar.
To make strawberry balsamic shrubs yourself, simply follow these steps.
- Wash the berries, and remove the hull.
- Cut the berries into small pieces, I quartered the smaller berries and cut the big ones into six or eight.
- Add the sugar and toss to coat.
- Let the mixture macerate in the fridge overnight.
- Strain the liquid from the solids using a fine sieve, press down on the berries to exact all of the liquid.
- Add the vinegar and stir to mix.
- Decant the mixture in a sterile bottle or jar, cover and refrigerate for a week.
That's all there is to it.
For strawberry balsamic sodas, combine about 1/3 shrub with 2/3 sparkling water, and serve over lots of ice. Garnish with a couple of slices of strawberry.
Throw a shot of strawberry balsamic shrub into a glass of sparkling wine to make a 'Shrub Royale', the perfect cocktail for summer brunching.