Confession. I had the opportunity to make a shrub earlier this summer. It was tabbed and ready to go but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was going to be a raspberry shrub. I decided that I didn’t want to “waste” my raspberries, which are my absolutely favorite fruit. So, I passed and the tab still sits in that magazine.
Enter Fine Cooking, Thanksgiving and the ever-present cranberry. Enter the Cranberry-Lime Shrub.
I could tell you that I researched the meaning of the name and spout off knowledge as though I really know it; but I won’t because I don’t. Suffice it to say that Wikipedia.org says a shrub comes from the Arabic word ‘sharab,’ which means, to drink.
Shrubs involve berries, hence the raspberry one I didn’t do and the cranberry one I did do. For those who wonder, the shrub is the syrup in the canning jar in the back. The wonderful little cocktail in front is called a Cranberry-Lime Sparkler. Yes, today you get a two-fer.
To make this shrub, simmer down cranberries, sugar, champagne wine vinegar and a strip of lime zest.
When it’s done, let it cool, then puree it and strain it through a fine sieve, saving the liquid and throwing away any pulp. That’s it.
To make the sparkler, add a few tablespoons of shrub to sparkling water, seltzer or anything else with bubbles. If you don’t have a five year-old in the house that will more than likely grab your glass, add vodka.
Hubby was a no-go on this one, but I expected that. He’s not fond of anything with a high level of vinegar, especially when it’s cooked. I enjoyed the small sip I had before the glass was whisked out of my hand and guzzled down by one much smaller than me. Dudette loved it.
It’s a simple, easy way to use an excess of berries, making them easily accessible for any number of uses throughout the year (which is why it was developed in colonial days…see, more ‘research’).
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d definitely add the vodka. Not only would it ensure that I get to drink the full glass, it would just taste good.
12 oz. (3 cups) cranberries,rinsed and picked over
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
1 strip lime zest (1/2 x 2 inches)
For the sparklers
1 cup seltzer, tonic water, or sparkling cider
1 fl. oz. vodka (optional)
Make the shrub
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, vinegar, and lime zest with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cranberries are completely broken down, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Purée with an immersion blender. Strain through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Make the sparklers
Per drink, combine 3 to 4 Tbs. of the chilled shrub with cold seltzer (and vodka, if you like).