You know those sweltering, sun beating down, summer days……. where the wind just blows more hot air, and your clothes sticks to every inch that’s covered? And you’re so thirsty you just need something, anything to drink, stat. And what winds up in your hand is a glass of wine, cocktail, or beer, and it’s gone in minutes. Like someone literally put a hole in the bottom of it because the icy, cold profile was just what your body was looking for.
Or so you thought. And you quickly realize you shouldn’t have lifted your glass so fast.
I’ve been avoiding that situation this summer with my love for refreshing drinks made with shrubs, ignited by Sherrie‘s magic at the final dinner of our Boss Babe Fest. As the sun set, we stirred up a slew mocktails, using shrubs & syrups had made.
As we taste tested each other’s concoctions, there was one consensus: these shrubs fruity, refreshing, barely sweet, and tangy drinks were a remedy for the heat.
Maybe you’ve heard of shrubs or switchels: vinegar-based fruit drinks that were popular years ago, during the long days of harvesting, to refuel. Today they’re gaining popularity as fermenting and preserving have gone through a rebirth.
What makes them hydrating is the vinegar and sweetener, maple syrup in this case – sending electrolytes through the veins like real food “sports drinks”. They aren’t difficult to make, just letting the blended fruit soak with the vinegar and maple to coax out all the flavor. After at least four hours, up to a few days, you’ll strain it, and the juice is your shrub.
With a half a watermelon sitting in my refrigerator taking up valuable real estate, I decided to go the shrub route, and create a play on a favorite cocktail of mine, The Greyhound. Typically made with grapefruit juice, I love it’s tart tang, with a hint of sweet, and a salty rim that pairs so, so well. It’s key to waking up flavors, creating balance, and giving it the edge that makes you take one more drink.
The apple cider tang of a shrub mimics the puckery grapefruit, along with fresh lime juice & lime La Croix for brightness. The watermelon brings the summer, like citrus brings the winter.
As the seasons change you can switch up the variety of shrub you make, according to the freshest fruit you can get your hands on. Last year I made this Apple Shrub, that is shoe-in for a spiced hot toddy. But right now….. #DRINKTHESUMMER!