After doing my research, I found that there was an old-fashioned way of making cocktails with something called a shrub.  Shrubs are also called “drinking vinegars”.  They are macerated fruit and vinegar. 

Today they are used by mixologists to create the most delicious, distinctive and hip cocktails. For those who don't drink alcohol or for the designated driver in the crowd, shrubs are the perfect libation when mixed with soda water or sparkling water. 

In my quest for the makings of this kind of cocktail, I found out the majority of mixologists were most certainly making their shrubs in-house. I know this because my first approach was to purchase shrubs and do my cocktail recipe experiments. However, my local gourmet and cocktail-focused shops did not carry them.  In fact, I discovered that practically no one had ever heard of them. 

After some research, I started making shrubs this summer and introduced them to my customers. The first was Raspberry Blackberry, and then Blueberry Lavender and the list goes on. 

As a bonus, producing shrubs were a novel way to preserve local fruit and vegetables throughout the seasons. This week, I made a batch of Cranberry Shrub that will make a great Holiday Cocktail. 

We use local, seasonal fruit, organic sugar & REAL apple cider vinegar in our shrubs. This combination of excellent ingredients have health benefits: 

* contain essential electrolytes for hydrating

* good for the gut, and control weight

* Make shockingly refreshing, tart and fruity cocktails 

* Cleanse the palate like wine

* Shrubs get better over time - just like a good wine

* For those who don’t drink alcohol, shrubs are the perfect libation  for making sure people feel included at a holiday fête 

Our shrubs are cold-pressed using locally sourced fruits. A little goes a long way, and you only need 1/2 to 1 oz of shrub per drink. Viva's Shrubs come in 12 oz bottles. That is approx 12 to 24 cocktails per bottle. 

We use 'Fever-Tree Soda Water'. It is the best out there and is carbonated spring water with zero calories and carbs. You can get it at Fiesta Farms, Whole Foods and some Lawblaws stores. 

Shrubs are vinegar-based and have a tang which makes them an excellent base for cocktails or mocktails.

Here is a simple way of using a shrub for a cocktail:

(Makes 1 Cocktail)

2 oz of Vodka

1 oz of a Shrub of your choice

1/2 oz of Grand Marnier (optional)

Soda Water

Put the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice and shake like crazy. Add to the cocktail glass and top up with chilled soda water.  You can experiment with adding bitters to balance your cocktail. 

Try one of our Shrubs:

Cranberry Shrub

Raspberry Blackberry

Blueberry Lavender

Peach Melba

Concord Grape  

More cocktail recipes to follow.