Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, are a combination of fruit, vinegar, and sugar. Once prepared they can be sipped as is or made into a variety of cocktails. In the 15th century they were considered medicinal cordials and throughout the 17th and 18th century they were served in most public houses, before falling out of fashion.
If you're looking for an interesting fall cocktail, the sweet-and-sour shrub syrup can be mixed with soda or alcohol. The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited as a before-meal drink or can be used in the place of bitters in other drinks.
Since it's apple season, it only makes sense to experiment with apple shrubs, but feel free to use other fruits; pear, berries, etc.
I made this cocktail with both whiskey and bourbon just to see which one I would like better. No surprise here... I preferred the bourbon-based libation, but they were both quite nice.
2 medium apples
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup honey
Grate the apples and spoon into a mason jar. Add the vinegar and honey to the apples and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours to 48 hours. Strain the juice into a clean jar, discarding the pulp, and cover with a lid. The shrub will keep in the refrigerator for months.
Apple Whiskey Shrub
1 oz apple shrub
1 oz whiskey
1 oz apple cider
Mix all ingredients and pour over ice.