You know when you’ve tasted something unusual for the first time, then it haunts you? You’ve just got to have it again. Well, this drink is a result of just that. At a blogger event last summer, I was fortunate to have a version of this drink made by Brian Samuels of A Thought for Food. It was unique, delicious and refreshing. It has stayed with me since.
The shrub or drinking vinegar, has actually been around since the colonial era. Over the past year or two, shrubs have become really popular. The shrub is a combination of fruits, sugar, vinegar and sometimes herbs. They meld together and become a fruity, sweet and tangy syrup that you can incorporate into many drinks. I chose to go with a Collins, since that was what Brian made and I just loved.
With blackberries in season and summer basil its most fragrant, my ingredients really picked themselves.
Let me say that, although I love vinegar and tangy things, don’t shy away if you don’t share that love. The vinegar flavor is mild, especially when topped with sparkling water. It comes across more as fruity and thirst-quenching.
Just be sure to allow yourself some time. There are so many variations on making shrubs. Some faster than others. I love that this one takes its time. The flavor is incredible because of it.
This is all about the method. Use your favorite fruits and flavors. You may even want to prepare a new jar every week and experiment through the summer! Cheers!
Blackberry Basil Shrub
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup blackberries
6 – 8 large basil leaves
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Combine the sugar, blackberries and basil in a small bowl. Using a fork, crush the blackberries and the basil and mix to combine with the sugar. Allow to sit for an hour at room temperature.
In a clean jar, add the vinegars and the berry mixture. Cover with a tight fitting lid and give it a shake. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. Give it a good shake once or twice a day.
Strain the mixture with a fine mesh sieve and store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Blackberry Basil Shrub Collins
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces blackberry basil shrub
4 ounces sparkling water
basil leaves and blackberries for garnish
In a tall glass, combine the vodka and shrub mixture. Add ice, then top off with sparkling water. Garnish with blackberries and fresh basil leaves.
Makes one drink.
Adapted from A Thought for Food – Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub