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
I have on hand… white and apple cider vinegars. Can I sub the balsamic for the white?
Can this be frozen? Have LOTS of blackberries!
I’ve never frozen the shrub, Cathy, but that is a genius idea and I’m sure it will freeze well! How awesome to have an abundance of blackberries! Enjoy!
I too have a lot of blackberries available this time of year. I freeze the berries and bring them out as needed for making homemade jam or pies. I think I’d do the same for making the shrub.
Let us know how freezing the shrub itself turns out.
This was the first shrub that I made after venturing out on my own because I, like others, won´t pay $20 for a small bottle of it in the store. My hubby and I loved it and I tried more recipes after that (one with raspberry, another with ginger). This is our favorite still, by far, so much that I made a triple batch tonight at the request of my hubby. We tested it with tequila, vodka, and rum but still like it best with tequila. We were surprised too!
Nikki, you just made my day! So happy you and your husband enjoyed this recipe. I love it too! I’m going to test it out with tequila next…sounds yummy…thanks for that tip! Cheers!
Katie @ Garnish Blog
These photos are gorgeous! I love shrub cocktails but I’ve never tried making one at home. I’ll definitely give it a shot!
Thanks so much, Katie! I hope you love it!
Cocktail sounds great. Where did you get those glasses?!!
Thanks, Kathy! I’ve had those glasses for a while, but I believe they were from Crate and Barrel. :)
My question is regular or white balsamic? It also reminds me of when I had a rasberry patch and made a rasberry vinagrette using champagne vinegar. I wonder . . .
I use regular balsamic, Mark, but you can certainly play around with it and try any combination of your favorite vinegars. White would be wonderful! I bet that vinaigrette was amazing! Hmmm…I may have to try that!
Maryanne @the little epicurean
Beautiful photographs! I’ve never tried vinegar in my cocktails before, but this sounds absolutely fabulous!
One Handed Toast
I’m an avid sloe gin maker but ‘shrub’ is a new one on me. Also a vinegar nut! So this is such a great post to have come across. And beautifully presented. Thanks so much!
Thanks so much! If you love vinegar…you’ll really love this! It was new to me too…now, I can’t get enough!
Oh my god, will you marry me? I had some McClary’s Shrubs a month or two ago and fell in love, but couldn’t justify the $20/bottle price tag. You may have just saved my bank account. XD
Hahahaha…well, I am already married, Ashlee, but I’ll certainly keep you in mind! ;) I’ve never tried McClary’s, but I know you’ll love making your own! It is so super easy and you can be as creative as you want to be with flavors. Thanks so much for the laugh! Cheers!
Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
Wow! This looks amazing! I am a huge fan of blackberries!!! I need one of these right now! :-)
Thanks so much Kristi! Yeah…I could actually use one about now too! Cheers! :)