Drinking vinegar or shrubs are a handy tool to add to your home bartending arsenal. It’s another way to draw flavors out of spirits, along with bitters, syrups and the like. Also, as an added bonus, they are easily transformed into a non-alcoholic beverage. I’ve got several friends now who eschew the booze and I’m thankful for the many reasons that they choose to do so. Therefore, it’s nice when having a big crew over to be able to offer something livelier than a soda, more intriguing than club soda and lime, and easier to cradle than a cup of reheated coffee. (It’s nothing but class over here at Chez Summers.)
Making a shrub can be an overwrought, messy, drawn-out affair…or a simple two-step process. Guess which I go for? All I do is select a fruit of the moment, douse it in sweetener and vinegar then shake the bejesus out of it. Right now my store has these aromatic pears that are irresistible. Using a box grater, I’ll simply grate it and transfer all the pulp and juice into a pint jar. I love to pair pear with raw honey and Ames Farm is a local company that has several deliciously nuanced varieties.
Store the jar in a cool place for a couple of days for the flavors to meld and then get crazy. It’s delicious as a sober afternoon pick me up when mixed 1 part shrub to 3 parts bubble water. Or, for a celebration, or a certain turkey-centric holiday, use the same portions plus a mid-priced bottle of crisp bubbly for a festive and easy cocktail. I like to finish mine with a few drops of my favorite bitters.
Pear Honey Shrub
1 ripe Bartlett Pear
1/2 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Grate pear. Combine pulp and juice, along with other ingredients in a pint jar. Seal and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dry place for at least 48 hours. Strain and store in the fridge.