Plant Life Balance

This super-easy recipe will level up any drink

For those hot and humid Aussie days, there’s nothing quite like quenching your thirst with a refreshing, delicious and – of course – plant-based beverage.

And what better way to do that than by making your own delicious fruity shrub? It’s the perfect way to fancy up your plain-old glass of water, and for those creatively inclined – have some fun in the kitchen!

What’s a shrub?

Unless you’ve worked in hospitality before, you’re probably scratching your head asking, “Shrub? As in a small bush?” Not quite! A shrub is kind of like cordial – it’s a syrup made of concentrated fruits, sugar and vinegar that can be added to either alcoholic or non-alcohol drinks. It’s a great introduction to preserving fruit, and has plenty of leeway for experimentation. The great thing about making shrubs is that it is SO EASY and SO CHEAP.

There’s two common ways shrubs are made – a hot way, and a cold way. We’ve gone with the cold method below, but you can easily find good hot-method recipes by doing a simple Google search.

Sound good? Let’s get cooking!

What you’ll need:

  • Fruit – go for summery fruits such as berries, peaches, nectarines, rhubarb and apricots
  • Vinegar – the most commonly used vinegar is apple cider vinegar, but don’t be scared to get experimental and try others like white wine or balsamic
  • Sugar – refined cane sugar works great, but brown sugar will also work and give it a more caramelised taste.

We’re going for a 1:1:1 ratio. So, depending on how much shrub you’re after, your best bet is to have a cup of fruit for every cup of vinegar and for every cup of sugar.

Let’s get creating

1. Wash the fruit and throw into a bowl. For stone fruits, peel, pit and roughly chop. For berries, gently mash or, if strawberries, cut them into quarters.

2. Toss the sugar into the bowl with the fruit and cover with a clean cloth. Set aside for between 24-48 hours. Give it a good stir once or twice to make sure any sugar that settled at the bottom has mixed in well.

3. By the end of the wait-period, fruit syrup should have developed within the bowl. Strain to separate the syrup from the fruit.

4. Whisk the vinegar and pour into the fruit syrup. We recommend doing this part bit-by-bit – kind of like salt, it’s easy to over do it!

5. Have a taste – this is your chance to alter any flavours, so add in more sugar or vinegar to get it just right.

6. When you’re satisfied with the final product, pour the syrup into a bottle and seal well before refrigerating.

View this post on Instagram

Do you have a go-to drink for drinkers and non-drinkers alike? Shrubs 🌳might be your answer! Cherry shrub 1/2 oz cherry-red wine shrub* 1/2 oz cherry syrup from a jar of amarena cherries Soda water 2 oz gin (for the drinkers) – I used @whitleyneillgin Pop some ice cubes 🧊 into a tall glass, add the shrub, cherry 🍒 syrup and gin (if using) and then top up with soda water. 💧 Stir with bar spoon (I used my fancy new @nouliving gunmetal black spoon) 🥄 and you’re done. ✅ No shaking required. 💪 How easy is that! Shrubs were once used to preserve the flavours of seasonal fruit with vinegar, before the advent of refrigeration. I love shrubs and you’ll always find a couple of them on the go in my fridge. They’re super yum just mixed with soda, and this drink was even better with the cherry syrup. Easy and refreshing on these hot Aussie 🇦🇺 summer days (well, it feels like summer anyway!) 🌞 And what’s more important, your non-drinking friends won’t feel like they’re missing out on a mixed drink! Cheers drinkstagram! * for the shrub, put some fresh, pitted cherries in a bowl with an equal amount of sugar and lightly crush the cherries. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter until the sugar draws out all of the delicious cherry goodness and you have a bowl of cherry goop. This can be overnight or up to a couple of days depending on your fruit. Then strain out the fruit and add red wine vinegar. I like to go easy on the vinegar so I use 2:2:1 fruit:sugar:vinegar by volume. Then let it sit in the fridge for a few days to mellow. It will lose some of the harshness of the vinegar and turn into tart cherry deliciousness. #koktails #cocktails #cherryshrub #cherry #shrub #vinegarshrubs #shrubcocktails #shrubdrinks #noabv #mocktail

A post shared by Ramon Kok (@koktailmeister) on

Mix your drink

Here’s your chance to get creative! Depending on your taste, feel free to mix and match with any liquor or non-alcoholic drink that you think might work well together. For example, you could fill a glass with ice, add a shot of gin along with a splash of shrub and some sparkling water, and voila! If you’re going for a non-alcoholic version, simply hold on the gin.

Don’t want to use it in your drinks? Try slashing some on a salad to sprinkling it on your meat – it should add a nice fruity tang.

Lastly, if the mixture goes slimy or bubbly, throw it out – it shouldn’t ferment.

Let us know how you go – we want to hear all about your impressive creations! You can reach us on the socials at @myplantlifebalance. Happy mixing!

Add comment