A shrub acts as an infused simple with a vinegary punch that mellows with resting. You’ll be rewarded for patience. Have Bourbon Apple Cider Shrub Cocktails on the ready for all your cocktail sippin’ needs.
Shrub. An unfamiliar word for an elixir, yes?
A shrub is simply a cold-infused simple syrup with vinegar added in equal parts. Sometimes spices and herbs are added to enhance the shrub. It’s sweet and tart but mellows with time to produce a smooth yet complex base for cocktails or for sipping without added spirits.
It takes some time to create, so plan accordingly.
Shrubs can be made with just about any variety of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. They’re easy to make and improve with neglect (how often can we say that?).
Grab a few apples, shred them, add sugar, a cinnamon stick, and anise pods. I like anise, so I add two. Stir the mixture together, cover, and shove it in the fridge for a few days. Twenty-four hours is all I can bear.
The mixture will melt down into a luscious syrup.
Strain the solids and add equal parts apple cider vinegar to the syrup. Add a cinnamon stick for more cinnamon goodness.
Then you wait, if you can. I don’t.
Shrubs are new to me. In fact, I had my first shrub this summer when I made Liz’s Blackberry Rum Shrub. I was blown away by the sweet-tart flavors and how vinegar can elevate a cocktail.
If you can wait, the flavors of the shrub will marry and mellow over time. I find even a few days draws down the acidity of the vinegar and creates an ultra smooth finish when added to a cocktail.
That is, if you can wait…
If you’re not in to waiting, but need a shrub posthaste, there is a quicker stove-cooked method, Serious Eats shares. But apparently, the cold method produces a brighter flavor as opposed to the stove-cooked method.
So take a few deep breaths and wait.
Patience is a virtue. <—- insert teeth grinding emoji.
I’m so excited about shrubs, I’ve rounded up a few recipes to share! You’ll notice they can be enjoyed without spirits too.
- Blackberry-Ginger Rum Shrub Cocktail – Floating Kitchen
- Pumpkin Shrub – A Cookie Named Desire
- Vanilla Plum Shrub – The Modern Proper
- Apple Mint Shrub for a Maple Fig Bourbon Soda – How Sweet It Is
- Black Peppercorn + Cranberry Shrub with Gin – With Food and Love
Tell me what you know about shrubs. Do you have a favorite recipe? Have you ever tried one?
Bourbon Apple Cider Shrub Cocktail
For the Apple Cider Shrub:
- 1 1/2 C Apples shredded (your favorite variety), 240g
- 1 C Cane Sugar 224g
- 2 Star Anise Pods * optional
- 1 Stick of Cinnamon
- 3/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar 190g
For the Cocktail:
- 1 1/2 oz Bourbon 43g
- 1 oz Apple Cider Shrub 28, adjust this to your taste if needed
- 1 oz Apple Cider 28g
- Club Soda
- Slices Apple for Garnish
Make the Shrub:
In a mixing bowl, use a box greater to grate the apples, skins on. Add the sugar, anise pods and cinnamon stick. Stir throughly, cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours (I find 24 hour works well for me).
Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and into a measuring cup pressing the solids to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Discard the solids except the cinnamon stick. To the syrup, add an equal amount of apple cider vinegar. Mix well and add the saved cinnamon stick. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator. It will save for months (I've not tested it. Mine is usually gone in a few weeks!). Taste before using to make sure the flavor is still good. Discard immediately if it has any signs of fermentation (bubbling, slimy, or off odor).
Make the Cocktail:
In a low ball glass add the bourbon, apple shrub, and cider. Fill with ice, top with club soda and stir. Garnish with apple slices.**
**If holding the garnish for later service, slice the apples and rub lemon juice on both sides of the slices. This will stop the apples from turning brown.
Inspired by Liz's Blackberry Shrub Rum Cocktail