Raspberry-Apricot Shrub

Shrubs (from the Arabic word shurb, or “beverage”) and switchels have been around since colonial times in this country, but really took off in the 18th and 19th centuries as a popular temperance beverage spiked with vinegar rather than alcohol. Fruit syrups and natron (a cousin of baking soda) were sometimes added to create a fizzy summer quencher. Much earlier, the Latin historian Spartinius attributed the conquering vigor of the Roman Empire’s armies to a vinegar-based refreshment, which was lighter than wine to pack on the roads to Rome.

And I know, it might not sound particularly tasty to splash vinegar into your fresh fruit juice, but you’ll have to try it to believe it. Like salt in a sweet cookie or cake recipe, vinegar heightens the other flavors around it, and beverages with bracing notes of tartness (think lemonade, or a cranberry juice and vodka) often taste cleaner, more refreshing than purely sweet ones. This sparkling shrub, with a sweet base of fresh raspberries and apricot nectar, is fruity and bright, with a sophisticated, can’t-quite-place-it complexity thanks to the vinegar. You may not even miss the hooch.

Raspberry-Apricot Shrub
adapted (barely) from Homemade Soda by Andrew Schloss, 2011; makes about 4 short drinks

  • 1 C fresh raspberries, about 6 oz
  • 1 C apricot nectar
  • 1/4 C agave syrup
  • 1/4 C raspberry or white wine vinegar
  • seltzer or club soda

In a small bowl, mash the raspberries well with the back of a fork. Mix in the nectar a little bit at a time to combine. Pour through a strainer over another small bowl, folding the pulp without mashing any solids through the sieve. You’ll have a bit of pulp and seeds left over; discard. Add the agave syrup and vinegar.

Over ice, add equal parts of the raspberry-apricot mixture and seltzer. Garnish with raspberries, if desired, and serve.

Note: this recipe multiplies very easily for a brunch, BBQ or baby shower crowd. Make the base ahead of time and add the seltzer just before serving.

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About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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4 Responses to Raspberry-Apricot Shrub

  1. Kelly says:

    This looks delicious and so refreshing, perfect for summer!!

  2. I love it! I can’t wait to make a beverage with vinegar in it 🙂 Thanks so much for the history lesson!

  3. Love this post! Looks delicious as well!

  4. Pingback: Sangria Shrub | scarpetta dolcetto

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