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.
I adore shrubs. There isn't anything quite like a splash of shrub syrup in fizzy water on a hot day. Ahhh, it's bliss. And this shrub specifically might just be the most refreshing, non-alcoholic drink you try all summer. Blackberries and lime work so well together, who knew!?
If you wish to add another flavour, try either mint or sage, but not both. Bruise the leaves and then add them along with the blackberries, lime zest, and sugar. You'll likely need to let it all macerate for 2 days , instead of one, to allow the herbs to give off their flavour.
1 ½ cups blackberries
Zest of 4 limes
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1. Place blackberries, lime zest, and sugar into a medium bowl. Crush berries (I use a muddle, but a potato masher would work well here too) and stir to combine.
2. Cover bowl with a lid and place in the fridge for one day, allowing it to macerate.
3. Position a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and pour the mixture through to remove the solids.
4. Combine strained syrup with vinegar. Whisk well to incorporate any undissolved sugar.
5. You may have some sugar clinging to the berry solids in the strainer. If so, set the strainer with the solids over another bowl, and then pour the syrup-and-vinegar mixture over the solids to wash the sugar into the bowl. Repeat as needed.
6. Pour syrup-and-vinegar mixture into a clean mason jar. Cap it. Shake it well to incorporate any undissolved sugar, and place in the fridge for a week before using.
7. Discard the solids or save them for another use.