In Gin No. 6 Recipes

A few years back, I started making shrub syrups for drinking, and for cocktails. Shrubs were a popular way in colonial times (and beyond) to preserve fruit that might otherwise spoil. Folks didn’t have refrigerators yet, so this was a common problem – jams and jellies were one solution, and shrubs were another. Essentially, in a typical shrub syrup you preserve the flavors of the fruit by steeping it with sugar and vinegar. You can use almost any kind of fruit, and a variety of styles of vinegar and sugar as well to make some delicious combinations.

Some of my friends in the cocktail blogging world have already written some guides to making shrubs, such as this fine one here by Michael Dietsch and his follow up about some other options he tried.  Like Michael, I have made shrubs both through cooking them and the cold infusion process, and I generally prefer the cold infusion process if I have the time – it produces bright, fresh flavors that are lost in a cooked shrub.

Right now at the tasting room, we are featuring a Springtime Shrub cocktail – a very simple cocktail once the shrub has been made.  Here are the recipes for the cocktail, as well as the shrub syrup.

Springtime Shrub

1½ oz Distiller’s Gin No. 6
1½ oz Shrub Syrup
1-2 oz Club Soda (to taste)

Build in a rocks glass full of ice – add gin, syrup and then top with soda. Stir, and garnish with a fresh swath of lemon peel, or else a fresh strawberry on the rim if desired.


Springtime Shrub Syrup

2 cups fresh berries of your choice (cut into pieces, if larger, such as strawberries)
1½ cups of sugar (I used a mixed of white table sugar and raw sugar, since that’s what I had on hand)
1½ cups of champagne vinegar

Place berries in a glass jar or other vessel suitable for infusing.  Add sugar and shake well. Store in refrigerator for at least 1 day, and up to 2-3 days. Please note: I made a triple recipe of this, so as to have enough to serve in the tasting room for a few weeks – my pictures show more fruit than this says.

Muddle the fruit/sugar mixture to break up the pieces, and add vinegar to mixture, store again in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 days, shaking occasionally. I know that the recipe I linked to above says to strain out the fruit before adding the vinegar, but I find you get better flavors if you leave it in longer – there’s still a lot of flavor in the fruit.

Strain out the fruit solids, pressing on them to extract as much juice as possible.  Keep the fruit solids if desired (Derek likes to put them on stuff), or discard.  Taste the syrup and adjust as needed for acid/sweetness balance.  It could be a bit too acidic – mine was, and I added a bit of concentrated simple syrup to balance it out. You do want some acidity/tartness, however, that’s what makes the syrup delicious when mixed into a cocktail or diluted with club soda.  Additionally, the syrup will change over time, and mellow a bit, so you don’t want to go too far in sweetening it up initially.

From my triple recipe, I got about 1-1/2 quarts of syrup, so this recipe above will yield just over a pint or so.