Ever since I read the scene from Anne of Green Gables where Anne accidentally serves currant wine instead of raspberry cordial to her friend Diana, I’ve been fascinated with old fashion fruit libations. Beyond the hilarity of Anne trying to cover up Diana being drunk, I loved the image of a bright red summer drink. At eight years old, I loved all things red!
At the turn of the century, farm women made all sorts of fruit potions both with and without alcohol. Fruit cordials, elderberry wine, fruit squash and berry shrubs – the drink not the bush – were all coveted treasures found at the back of most farm-house pantries. My mom makes rhubarb juice and something she calls blackberry vinegar. After doing a little research, I discovered that fruit vinegars were also called “shrubs”. If I had a choice between a glass of vinegar or a glass of shrub, I’d absolutely go for the shrub. Something about drinking vinegar just doesn’t sound fun.
Blackberries grow wild in my part of the world. Grab a pail, fill it up then make a batch of shrub. You’ll thank me this winter!
4 quarts fresh blackberries
White vinegar, to cover
- Place blackberries in a non-metallic container
- Pour vinegar over top just covering the blackberries
- Cover and allow to stand for 24 hours
- Place mixture in a large stock pot and bring to the scald*
- Strain mixture through a cheesecloth lined colander
FOR EVERY 2 CUPS OF BLACKBERRY JUICE YOU’LL NEED 2 ¼ CUPS OF SUGAR
- Place juice and sugar in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Boil gently for 20 minutes
- Meanwhile, prepare jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Pour vinaigrette into prepared jars, seal and store in the refrigerator.
THE LOVE: Mix one or two tablespoons of shrub with tonic water for a refreshing summer drink.
Thanks for reading.