Have shrubs become the “it” trend where you live? Where we are in Sonoma, shrubs are everywhere. Just to be clear: I’m not talking about the plants you find in your yard or local park, though maybe at one point those were the latest craze. The shrub I’m referring to is a syrup made from fruit, sugar, herbs/spices (if you like), and vinegar. It’s this awesome combination of sweet and tart that makes a great base for a refreshing soda or cocktail. If you like the taste of kombucha, I think you’re going to love this easy shrub drink.
This shrub recipe features a most delicious flavor combination of juicy, ripe strawberries and slightly bittersweet, anise-scented tarragon. It’s a unique and interesting pairing (which I love), but fresh basil or mint would also work well. If strawberries aren’t your thing or they cost a small fortune, sub in whatever fruit you fancy! I’m really excited to try cantaloup + mint, watermelon + basil, and fig + cinnamon shrubs next.
This is a very adaptable recipe, so you should feel free to adjust the sweetness and tartness to suit your personal tastes. I used about half as much sugar as most shrub syrups call for and three quarters the amount of vinegar because I like mine subtly sweet and a bit less tart. I prefer white wine vinegar since its flavor is more delicate than something like apple cider vinegar. Champagne vinegar would probably be excellent here too.
Enjoy the syrup in a tall, ice-filled glass of soda water, and add a shot of your favorite spirit if you like! I’m thinking a good quality tequila would be the way to go…
- 8 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
- ¼ cup vegan sugar (use ½ cup for a sweeter syrup)
- 4 sprigs fresh tarragon (or 1 large handful)
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 ounce shrub syrup
- 5 ounces sparking water
- 1½ ounces spirits (optional, top-shelf tequila would be nice)
- small sprig fresh tarragon for garnish
- Add the strawberries and sugar to a mixing bowl. Stir, cover, and leave the strawberries to macerate on the counter for a couple of hours. Stir them every so often to extract as much strawberry juice as possible.
- Meanwhile, add the tarragon and vinegar to a glass jar. Use a spoon to push down the tarragon so that it's completely submerged in the vinegar. Place the lid on the jar tightly and let sit on the counter.
- After the strawberries have sit for 2 hours, pour the fruit mixture over a fine sieve into a bowl. Reserve the strawberries for non-dairy ice cream sundaes (so good!) or another sweet treat, and pour the liquid into the jar with the tarragon and vinegar. Place the lid on the jar tightly and leave the jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. Taste daily until you're happy with the strength of the tarragon flavor, then strain out the tarragon and enjoy the syrup!
- To make the shrub soda/cocktail: fill a glass with ice, then add the shrub syrup, sparkling water, and spirits (if using). Stir and garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon. Cheers!