Here's a thirst-quenching drink to combat the heat of summer. It's a vinegar drink called a shrub. While it might sound strange it's delightful. It cools you down without any alcohol or added sugar. Sparkling mineral water, fresh mint, flavored liquid stevia drops, and the secret ingredient - vinegar. Seriously, try this shrub drink when you want something tasty and refreshing but don't want alcohol.
Vinegar Drinks: Shrubs and Switchels
We're all familiar with apple cider vinegar benefits, so drinking vinegar is not too crazy of a concept. While not an apple cider vinegar drink, this recipe uses raspberry vinegar; it's called a raspberry shrub. Let me introduce you to drinking vinegar.
The History of Shrubs
Called shrubs and switchels, drinking vinegar in beverages has a long global and cross-cultural history. Old English versions often contained spirits and citrus juices. The American version of the shrub used vinegar as an alternative to citrus juices as a way of preserving berries and other fruits before refrigeration was invented.
Like all things, they fell out of fashion but were resurrected in 2011-2012 by American restaurants and bars. Unfortunately many recipes use lots of sugar because they are based on simple syrup (sugar syrups).
How I Discovered Shrubs
I discovered shrubs by accident. One of my ingredient splurges is special vinegars from Germany by Vom Fass. As I was buying some I said these are so good you could drink them, and they said yes! You actually can! Their Raspberry Balsamic vinegar is amazing. I use it for delicious summer vinaigrettes and try it over ice cream.
Stores are scattered so I order online these days. They have small sizes available for you to try (100ml). I generally by the 250ml size. Alternatively find raspberry vinegars at Williams-Sonoma, Amazon, and oil and vinegar boutiques.
How to Make a Sparkling Raspberry Vinegar Shrub
When I want to replace sugar in something, I often turn to Sweet Drops, the flavored liquid stevia drops. The berry flavor was the perfect way to make a quick and healthier version of a shrub without a sugar syrup.
Many recipes start with a pound of fruit and 2 cups of sugar and turn it into a syrup. Too much sugar for me. That's like eating jam. My recipe? No simple syrup, no infusing berries. Just fruit-based vinegar, flavored liquid stevia drops and sparkling water. I use San Pellegrino. So easy!
Fill a glass with ice, pour in about 2 tablespoons of raspberry vinegar, fill with sparkling San Pellegrino water, add mint and fresh raspberries and you have a refreshing, non-alcoholic vinegar drink.
Don't skip the mint. It's not just for looks. It adds wonderful flavor. And mint is so easy to grow in warm months. Get a pot going in your backyard, porch, balcony or kitchen window.
The Ultimate Raspberry Vinegar
Yes, you do have to ship them and no they are not cheap. If you are adventurous and love to find speciality artisan ingredients, treat yourself. Don't say I didn't warn you. Their fruit vinegars have a high fruit content, mild acidity and intense aromas and flavors. All of the flavors make incredible vinaigrettes for salads. Call for pricing and more information.
Here is a link to more information about their vinegars. The blueberry vinegar you can drink off a spoon. Here is a recipe I did with the blueberry vinegar, a grilled chicken salad with blueberry vinaigrette.
More Helpful Links
- Ice to fill a glass
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 12 ounces sparkling water like San Pellegrino
- 3-4 drops flavored liquid stevia drops Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops
- 2 sprigs fresh mint optional garnish, but adds flavor
- 4-5 fresh raspberries optional garnish
- Fill glass with ice, pour raspberry vinegar over the ice cubes. Add a few drops of the berry flavored liquid stevia and fill the glass with the sparkling water. Stir, and top with the mint and raspberries.