Boy do I feel late to the party. After a few excellent shrub posts by Gabriel, Jamie, and Rick, and Chip and Andy, there’s not a lot more to say, but I’ve got a few tips that might come in handy when “rolling your own“.
The basic concept of a Shrub, other than preservation of the juice, is to impart a bit of sourness from acetic acid, developed by naturally occurring bacteria, to add a “kick” to the drink, as you might get with a carbonated beverage. A decent shrub should not be entirely vinegar, but should have just enough for a nice zing in the flavor and particularly in the late stages of the taste through the aftertaste.
I recently put together a Rum Shrub with Black Currants based on a recipe from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. The recipe noted that the shrub can be bottled and strained after “6 days or whenever”, so I gave it a good six weeks. After even this amount of time, the juice had still not begun to vinegarize, so taking some tips from the Vinegar man, I introduced a really nice apple cider vinegar to the mix. Within days, the mother of vinegar had started to develop, and it was getting quite pungent, so I strained and bottled it. The flavor was… well, I can really only reduce it to sound effects, with a lot of ZIPS and WOWS. It’s good stuff, and quite an unexpectedly delicious kick. It’s quite potent though, and can be added to hot or charged water, or just about anything else you can think of.
Here’s the recipe straight from the Trader’s mouth, though you may want to reduce quantities a bit.
Rum Shrub #3
- 1 gal. rum
- Juice of 10 lbs. cooked currants
- 2 lbs. sugar.
Dissolve sugar in a little water; mix with rum and currant juice; cover closely and let stand a week or more. Mix and strain through muslin bag and bottle.
The best way to do the muslin filter is by finding a place that sells canning goods and buying a Jelly bag and bag holder. They hold a lot more than a coffee filter, and do just about as good of a job. If the mother of vinegar (gooey stuff at the top) falls in with the bottle, it’ll continue to ferment until you’ve got a nice bit of pure vinegar. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the above recipe, and added some tartness and culture with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.
Now that that’s out of the aging jar, I’ve put in a formula from Classic Liqueurs said to mimic closely the long lost Forbidden Fruit Liqueur. Only 3 weeks of aging and agitating left!
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The Bitter Truth class
This past Sunday was the first in hopefully a long string of classes hosted by Daniel and David at .
Inspired by Paul Clarke's post on .