Much of what I know about jams, pickles, and preserves comes from Marisa McClellan. Her books and blog, Food in Jars, were perfect guides for a newbie like me. I was also fortunate to take a class with her back in the day.
I don’t visit the blog on a regular basis. I tend to go through large batches of posts at one sitting and it was on one such visit that I came across her Instant Shrub Sparkler.
What is a shrub?
Without getting too heavily into its history, a shrub is a fruit syrup that is made with fruit juice, sugar, vinegar or alcohol. Other ingredients, like herbs and aromatics, are included for flavoring. A shrub was originally meant to preserve fruit at a time when refrigeration didn’t exist. The result is something that is both sweet and tart.
Jam – it’s not just for toast
Marisa’s “recipe” embraces the idea of a shrub but allows you to make and enjoy it in no time. Jam gives you the concentrated intensity of the fruit and mixing it with vinegar gives you the tartness found in a shrub. Using a two-to-one ratio of jam to vinegar gives you the base flavors. You can add other flavorings like muddled fresh mint or basil leaves too.
Before you add your sparkling water, you can sieve the mixture to remove the bits of fruit. I happen to like the fruit bits – it kind of reminds me of the fruit in sangria (without the alcohol).
You can also make a delicious adult beverage by adding a splash of alcohol – herbal gin, citrus vodka, or limoncello would work nicely.
Fun serving glasses
Marisa’s post also promoted these cute Ball Flute Jars. I loved the look so much I immediately went out and bought a set. They are relatively inexpensive and are the perfect size for these shrub sparklers. Of course, you don’t need to buy these jars to enjoy this refreshing summer drink – your favorite glasses will do just fine.Print
Easy “Shrub” Sparkler
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
This refreshing, bubbly drink will get you through warm summer days (and nights). Make a batch of the base so you can whip up a drink at a moment’s notice. This recipe is expanded upon Marisa McClellan recipe on Food in Jars.
1 cup jam
1/2 cup apple cider or balsamic vinegar
8–12 cups sparkling water
Mint, basil, fresh ginger (optional)
For the shurb base:
In a bowl, combine the jam and vinegar. Taste the mixture and adjust the balance as needed – Too sweet? Add more vinegar. Too astringent? Add more jam. Keep in mind, the mixture will be strong as it is meant to be diluted with sparkling water.
Optional: strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Store this base mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
For the shrub sparkler:
Place 3 tablespoons of the shrub base mixture in a glass. Muddle in any fresh herbs or ginger, as desired. Top with 1-1½ cups of sparkling water, to taste. Stir to mix and garnish with fresh herbs or fruit slices.
Optional: you could also add a splash of alcohol, like an aromatic gin, citrus vodka, or limoncello, if desired.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 121.29
- Sugar: 20.67 g.
- Sodium: 88.88 mg.
- Fat: 0.03 g.
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 29.42 g.
- Fiber: 0.47 g.
- Protein: 0.16 g.
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: jam, vinegar, sparkling water