Shrubs & The Spanish Prohibition
With summer in full swing, I needed inspiration in order beef up my beverage arsenal. It's barely August and I have tired of my beloved rose or the go-to Negroni to kick off summer barbecues. Where to go, and what to drink!?! The August issue of Bon Appetit magazine came to my much needed rescue with an entire segment on Summer drinking and de-mystifying the cocktail. I was now totally prepared to finish the summer reigning as the newly crowned queen of refreshment amongst my friends.
The most interesting portion of the article was devoted to incorporating shrubs into your classic cocktail lineup. A shrub is basically simple syrup, reduced fresh fruit, with the important addition of vinegar. According to Bon Appetit, most chefs are always talking about the importance of acid when it comes to making food, and that the same approach should be taken when it comes to cocktails. This intrigued me because, despite my love of fresh summer fruit, I've shied away from adding them to my beverages, favoring drinks with a more bitter edge. But if a shrub gave me the opportunity to have my cake and eat (drink) it too, I was all in!
The ratio that is suggested for easy at home bartending is:
2 oz. shrub
1 1/2 oz. spirit of choice
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
**Shake and strain into a tall glass of ice, and garnish with reserved fruit.
I mean...how can you not say, "omnom?"
I will leave you with my first success in cocktail glory...I'd like to call her "The Spanish Prohibition." She'll be on special all this week at Vintage Enoteca, with ingredients available at Vintage Wine+Market for at home experimentation. Cheers!
The Spanish Prohibition
1oz White Vermouth
1oz Manzanilla or Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz. Strawberry Balsamic Shrub
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3-5 drops or 1 dash of Aromatic Bitters
Top with Cava (Carefully, as the cava likes to foam up like mad!)
To Make Shrub:
This recipe can be replicated using any variety of fresh summer fruit and your choice of vinegar. Distilled white, Champagne, Balsamic will all work fabulously, just use your inner culinary goddess (or whatever is in your pantry) to make the decision of which combination of fruit and vinegar works best for you.
Bring 3/4 c. sugar and 1/2 c. water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 lbs ripe fruit, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into a bowl and stir in 3 Tablespoons vinegar. Cover and chill.