You’ve hopefully detoxed from holiday party extravaganzas and have settled back into the day-to-day routine. But, if your resolutions are already in danger of being ignored, at least opt for changing up your eating and drinking routine. Start with this shrub— a drink with bright and zesty flavors made with ingredients that you’ll find pretty surprising!
And if you’re wondering what on earth this “shrub” thing we’re talking about is, here’s a quick introduction: Shrubs are fruit-flavored sweetened vinegars that originated in colonial America as a method of preservation. They’ve had a resurgence in the more recent past, particularly in the cocktail world. The combination possibilities are practically endless: you can mix and match vinegars (from champagne to apple cider) with fruits, and for extra flavor, herbs. Stir them into basic cocktails like gin-and-tonics for a unique twist or pour them, like in the following, into some bubbly. Teetotaler? Sub the sparkling wine with sparkling water.
For the Shrub
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
12 ounces beets, scrubbed, peeled, and cubed
1 cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
– In a quart-sized container with a lid, combine the sugar, vinegar, and ginger. Cover container and shake to combine. Add the beets and mint, ensuring that everything is submerged. Add more vinegar if needed.
– Cover the container and let stand for 2 days in a cool, dry place, shaking every 6 to 8 hours to redistribute the ingredients. Strain the shrub and discard the solids. The shrub will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
For the Cocktail
– Fill a highball or other glass with ice. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons shrub and top with prosecco or champagne. Garnish with fresh thyme and mint, if desired.