Shrubs, otherwise known as drinking vinegars, are this summer’s trendiest beverage! These sparkling hibiscus shrubs combine a concentrate of brown sugar, dried hibiscus, and Pompeian organic apple cider vinegar with sparkling water for the perfect mix of sweetness and acidity.
I feel like these are more of a “choose your own adventure” drink than a recipe.
After all, we’re drinking vinegar! By choice!
It’s a new frontier.
Maybe even weirder is that it’s not even that weird to me?
I’m kind of into it.
Fermented foods are all the rage currently given their myriad health benefits and apple cider vinegar is one food that you probably already have in your pantry and didn’t even realize it was fermented! The more you know.
I don’t know if you’ve ever closely examined your bottle of apple cider vinegar, but if you do you’ll see a dark cloudy substance that forms at the bottom. To the untrained eye, this may look like vinegar gone bad and even I’m guilty of mistakenly throwing out a jar after seeing this because I thought it had spoiled.
SHAME ON ME!
That cloudy stuff is actually The Mother! It’s comprised of naturally occurring pectins from apple or grape residue, along with healthy bacteria and their high volume of antioxidants. And it is totally safe to eat or drink so long as your vinegar is unfiltered, unpasteurized organic vinegar, like Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is. Plus it’s where all of apple cider vinegar’s healthfulness comes from.
Only two tablespoons a day of Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar + The Mother (<– so be sure to shake the bottle first!) is enough to confer these benefits, which include improved digestion, an immune system boost, cholesterol lowering, sore throat soothing, dandruff prevention, and weight loss to name a few!
I like to think that I was onto apple cider vinegar before it was cool because one of my best friends in college would swig it on a daily basis and claim that it made him more “regular”. He was always stopping by my room when his bottle ran dry to steal slurps out of mine since he knew I had it for cooking. TMI dude! But at the time it was pretty funny. That’s college for you!
I’m not sure I could consciously drink more than a sip or two of the vinegar on it’s own, but that’s what shrubs are for!!
Also known as drinking vinegars, shrubs have been around since the 17th or 18th century. Talk about staying power. They are basically mixes of equal parts sugar, fruit, and vinegar that are simmered together until the sugar and fruit dissolve to create a sort of simple syrup or concentrate. The acidity of the vinegar really brings out the freshest, truest flavor of the fruit but it also adds a zing that cuts through the fruit’s sweetness. The concentrate is a little much to drink on it’s own, but it is awesome mixed into a bit of chilled sparkling water. So refreshing!! Plus you can add just as much as you want to get the desired level of tartness. I liked mine with quite a bit of punch, but the.boy could only handle a teeny spoonful. To each his own!
You can use pretty much any fruit for this, but I opted to use dried hibiscus flowers, which are not even really a fruit at all. Even so, they are super sweet and floral in a truly lovely way. I infused cinnamon and ginger into the shrub syrup as well to add an extra flavor dimension and even more health benefits.
Neither your summer, nor your gut, will be as good without it.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup hibiscus
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- sparkling water or seltzer
- In a medium pot, combine the brown sugar, water, hibiscus, cinnamon stick, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and allow to boil until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Return to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until chilled.
- Mix the shrub with sparkling water to taste and serve cold.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pompeian. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me inspired in the kitchen.
I really love shrubs, and have a couple of recipes on the blog, my favorite is a cucumber shrub, very quick to prepare and absolutely perfect for summer
I need to try your version
what proportion did you use for shrub versus water? I think in mine I use like 1 in 4 or even less… I don’t like it super strong
I’m a shrub weakling also! I might have even done less than 1:4. Maybe 1:5? I just kind of poured until it tasted good.
great, thanks! trying it this weekend!
I tried a cayenne-spiced drinking vinegar last week and it was interesting to say the least! I do like it though, I’m finally on the kombucha/drinking vinegar/fermented tea drink train!!
I love kombuchas, which I bet have a similar vinegary flavor to this, so this doesn’t seem so weird to me.
I love making sorrel (Jamaica style hibiscus beverage), so I was excited to find this shrub recipe. But when I just made this- all I taste is the vinegar. I cannot taste the cinnamon, ginger, nor hibiscus. I think I will make it again and allow the ingredients to steep in the water/vinegar over night.