Pineapple Shrub Cocktail
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.
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.