Shrubs have been around in the drink world for centuries. In Colonial times, a ‘shrub’ was made from vinegar syrup, alcohol and water or carbonated water.
Like many cocktails and soft drinks of the modern era, shrubs were originally made for medicinal purposes. Over the years they turned into cocktails and in the past five years or so shrubs have seen a rise in popularity in the food world thanks to classic cocktails and mixology being ‘a thing.’
Regardless of trends or popularity, shrubs are useful and delicious no matter your drinking habits. We discovered this one at an artisan food show in Chicago back in May. Made by Kansas City Canning from Kansas City, MO, this shrub is great in the summer or when you’d like to think of summer when it’s cold outside.
They combine watermelon with habanero peppers, white and sherry vinegars, lime juice, sugar, and salt to create a drinking experience unique and welcome this time of year.
The regular shrub cocktail recipe is 2 oz shrub, 2 oz spirits, 2 oz carbonated water, but you can leave out the spirits and keep the drink ‘virgin’ if you like.
I think this particular shrub goes well with tequila (as do the folks at Kansas City Canning since they put a margarita recipe on the jar). The sweet, slighty fruity flavors of the melon go very well with the citric spicy heat of the habenaro. If you like a little spice or just want something special for summer, this is the shrub you should know.
It makes a great marinade for meats and other dishes as well… you don’t have to just drink the shrub! Put a little into your gazpacho for a neat little twist.