Trend forecasters in the bar industry are saying that 2015 is the year 'shrubs' move from a tool in the experienced bartender's kit to the mainstream.
The term Shrub derives from the Arabic word for 'drink'. In the Middle East shrubs were a pre-refrigeration method for preserving fruit and continues to be mixed with soda in 'dry' countries today as a way to beat the heat.
A shrub is essentially a sweet drinking vinegar and entry-level ones need only three ingredients. Vinegar, sugar and a flavoring ingredient (eg: Fruit). Variations come through the exchange of the flavoring ingredient - whether that is fruits, vegetables or herbs. A big factor is also the type of sugar or vinegar used.
For the recipe I'm going to share today, I used a Pineapple shrub that incorporated raw organic sugar and, specifically, rice vinegar. For a simple Pineapple shrub simply combine equal measures of peeled and diced Pineapple, raw sugar and rice vinegar in a resealable mason jar. Allow infusion to sit in fridge for three days. Strain and put liquid into a squeeze bottle. Your shrub is ready to go. The rice vinegar is less acidic than other styles and has a flavor profile that complements and not overwhelms the pineapple.
Here is a tart, refreshing cocktail to prepare with pineapple shrub. All of the ingredients can be sourced in and around Calgary.
Photo and recipe by Tarquin Melynk
60 ml Alberta Premium Dark Horse Rye
20 ml Fresh squeezed Lime Juice
10 ml Pineapple Shrub
15 ml Gommé (2:1 Rich Simple Syrup)
A dash each of Dillon's Pear Bitters and Scrappy's Chocolate bitters (pear to enhance vibrant fruit notes and chocolate to give a malty dry finish to temper the brightness of this drink)
- Combine in shaker, add ice, give it a vigorous 10 second shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass.
I usually prepare a dehydrated pineapple and espellette chili pepper kosher salt half rim (that's an idea for another day). A kosher salt half rim is a nice touch. The saline helps balance the flavor of the drink. To apply salt, use a sliced lemon and rub exposed fruit on glass, then gently roll wet surface through salt.