Welcome to Cooking with Grace! This is where Grace Singleton, a managing partner at the Deli, shares her favorite products and delectable home cooking tips with us. This week, she’s keeping it simple with a refreshing concord grape shrub drink. Enjoy!
I really enjoy having a drink when I get home from work. There’s something about finishing a day with the clink of ice cubes in a glass that just feels right and helps me relax. I’ve been abstaining from alcohol for the past few months, and I’ve never been a big soda (or pop) drinker, so it takes a little more imagination to have something tasty at the end of the day. To keep things exciting, I’ve been experimenting with different non alcoholic beverages.
Shrubs seem to be on every great bar menu nowadays and are also being used in the kitchen at many cutting edge and innovative restaurants. There are write ups in many different foodie magazines, blogs, etc. about the wonders of shrubs and their comeback into our pantries.
The shrub has a long and varied history with many different versions. They’ve been used in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for centuries. The short answer to “what is a shrub?” is that it’s a vinegar- based liquid that uses fruits or berries (but can also include vegetables and herbs) as a flavoring for food and drink.
If you want to make your own shrubs, learn more about their history, or have a nice collection of shrub cocktails you can pick up Michael Dietsch’s book, Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. He does a wonderful job sharing a long history of shrubs with multiple variations, and he has a way of drawing you in with his stories of this mysterious drink that has gone by many names.
I have not yet ventured into shrub making, but we sell several wonderful shrub flavors at the Deli. I have always loved the flavor of concord grapes and the folks at Hudson Standard have captured the flavor perfectly in their concord grape shrub.
The recommended ratio of soda water to shrub is 7:1, so a little over 1.5 oz of shrub can be mixed with a 12-ounce can of soda. I picked up this beautiful red wing pottery glass in Red Wing Minnesota and garnished my glass with a segment of tangerine. If it was summer I’d add a couple sprigs of fresh mint to this drink. It’s also pretty tasty if you reduce the soda water add some gin, rum or vodka to it.