Happy Hour

Happy Hour: 6.13.18

If you’ve ever put vinegar in a fruit-based cocktail, you’ve essentially created a shrub. Depending on the vinegar, fruit and vegetables used, these drinks can satisfy your need for something spicy, sweet or sour! Apple cider vinegar is a great versatile choice, but don’t hesitate to experiment with others.

quick facts
» Shrubs became popular in 18th-century England and eventually made their way to Colonial America. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed them.
» Brandy and rum were popular ingredients in early shrubs.
» Vinegar can work as a preservative when added to a fruit syrup mixture.
» Shrubs can be created using a cold and hot method. The hot method simply requires boiling the ingredients together to make a syrup. Strain out the solids, and mix into a cocktail! The cold method, while more time consuming, lets the fruit flavors really shine. It involves mixing the fruit with sugar and letting it sit covered for three to five days. Once maceration is complete, strain the liquid and add to your drink.

cantaloupe, ginger & mint shrub
2.5 lbs chopped cataloupe
1/2 c ginger juice
1 qt. apple cider vinegar
1 oz. mint leaves
1 c raw cane sugar
Add sugar to cantaloupe and let macerate for up to one day. Add mint and ginger juice to vinegar. Strain juice from the cantaloupe and add to vinegar mixture. Store up to two weeks.
» for a cocktail: Combine 2 oz. gin and ¾ oz. shrub in a shaker; shake for 15 seconds. Strain over ice, top with club soda and garnish with mint.

balsamic & fig shrub
1 lb. dried figs
2 qt. balsamic vinegar
1 c raw cane sugar
Combine the vinegar and figs and let rest in cool, dark place for five days. Once rested, bring mixture to a boil with sugar. Strain solid ingredients, and let cool. Store up to two weeks.
» for a cocktail: Combine 1 oz. Hennessy V.S. cognac, ¾ oz. shrub and ½ oz. Grand Marnier in a shaker with ice; shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with 4 oz. Prosecco, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Justin Wolf is sommelier at The Four Seasons Hotel-St. Louis.