BLACK CHERRY- LIME SHRUB
From ancient potable to kiddie aperitif
Every once in a while growing up, there would be Sunday dinner in a restaurant—trying to teach the under-10 next generation, almost all little guys, the rules of the game. The rules were pretty simple: use the restroom and wash hands before sitting down, don’t knock over the stemmed water glasses, leave the silverware alone until food appears, and keep feet and legs from dragging the linens off the table. In return, we got to order anything we wanted—even if it was only a fried chicken drumstick or one meatball, or just dessert. The adults sat along one side of a big round family table, enjoying Manhattans and Side Cars, laughing about their lives “before kids’”. But the kids weren’t left high and dry—we each got an adult-looking glass filled with a fancy fruit shrub as our aperitif. There was a piece of fruit or a small scoop of sherbet floating in each glass. It wasn’t soda, but sweet like a life-saver—also a bit like a sour ball. It was good! If anyone mentioned there was vinegar involved, it would have been all over. A shrub is a very ancient thirst quencher—having a moment now. Easy to make, uses up less than perfect fruit—and the shrub base lasts for a week or two in the fridge.
- Equal amounts of crushed fruit and sugar, in this case, pitted black cherries (1 cup to 1 cup)
- Half that amount, or a bit more, of apple cider vinegar (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
- ½ cup water
- Juice of 1 lime
Put all except the vinegar in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer and stir to dissolve sugar and thicken syrup a little—10-15 minutes. Cool slightly and put in clean glass jar. Heat the vinegar to almost boiling, then pour over fruit mixture. Screw on lid and give it a good shake. Store in fridge for at least 24 hours, up to 3 days. Strain through layered cheesecloth or coffee filter at least once—pressing on solids. Mix 2+ tblsp of fruit base with cold water, seltzer, or lemon/lime soda. Garnish with fruit or sherbet.
The Kitchen Hive