Asking yourself what the heck a shrub is? Well, in the food world, shrubs are an acidulated beverage made of juice, sugar, vinegar, and other ingredients, such as soda water or even booze.
These drinking vinegars were popular in Colonial America as a way to capture the freshness of seasonal fruits. Despite their popularity, home refrigeration forced these drinks into obscurity. Much like the fashion world, the food world also dips into the past for inspiration and shrubs have been making a comeback.
Wash and dry the oranges.
NOTE: I always use earth-friendly and biodegradable products. I suggest at least washing your produce with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar and a tablespoon baking soda. You don’t want any nasty pesticides on your fruit. Gross!
Quarter the oranges lengthwise; cut crosswise about ¼ inch thick.
Add the orange slices and 1 cup of sugar to a quart-sized mason jar, alternating between the citrus fruit and the sugar. Seal the jar and shake it around until all of the fruit is covered in sugar. Let stand for 5 hours.
Add 1 cup of champagne vinegar to the mixture. Seal and shake, trying to dissolve as much of the remaining sugar as possible. Add the remaining ingredients and let stand for 24 hours in a dark cool place.
Strain the mixture through a sieve and store in a clean mason jar.
Shrubs can be served in a variety ways. You can drink them straight or even use them in cocktails, like I did in my new cookbook, Holidazed. I served this shrub with some club soda. Using a collins glass filled with ice cubes, add 2 1/2 ounces of shrub syrup and top off with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice.