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Articles by Steven Wade

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Photo: holytoastr“Drinking vinegar” does not, at its core, sound like the most tempting libation. But that’s what a shrub is: a series of ingredients cooked down and preserved in vinegar, then strained into a syrup, and used for a multitude of purposes.

Conceived in several parts of the world (derived from the same notion as Japanese black vinegars and aged Italian balsamico), shrubs have existed as a means of preserving additional (and sometimes slightly overripe) fruit left over from harvest, and as a non-alcoholic drink known to reinvigorate the salivary glands in hot weather.

As seasonal eating — and the old-fashioned food preservation practices that go along with it — has made a come back among eco-conscious eaters, shrubs have also reappeared. And, as unlikely as it may sound to some, shrubs are now a hot item in many urban bars and restaurants (see this New York Times article as evidence).

A basic shrub is made of fruit used as a flavor base, vinegar or preserving solution, and a sweetening agent (something that cuts or rounds out the acid in the vinegar). The base fruit (you can use more than one type of fruit, or add he... Read more