Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blackberry Rum Shrub

(Printable Recipe)
Trust me, this tastes nothing like a piney green shrub from the garden; it's actually a refreshingly fruity cocktail that just happens to have an odd name. Shrubs were quite the popular drink of the 17th century. Today's version skips the fruit-soaked-in-vinegar in favor of fruit crushed with sugar to produce plenty of juice with a dash of balsamic, which has its own degree of sweetness that really tempers that vinegary edge. I was surprised how tasty shrubs can be when I had a chance to sample some recently at Napa Valley Distillery while traveling.  In 2012 Saveur featured this drink and it does seem to be trending now, in addition to being a tasty revival of a very old drink.
Use half as much sugar as fruit.
I had about 1 cup of blackberries. Using 1/2 as much sugar to fruit ratio, I added 1/2 cup sugar and crushed all together until it exuded plenty of juice. Reserve a few berries for garnish!

Add 1 tablespoon of balsamic and let this mixture rest for an hour or so as the sugar completely dissolves and the berries give up a little more juice. You will then have your "shrub."
Save a few whole berries for garnish.
I also like the idea of using a brandied Blackberry as garnish, hence the little jar you see above, but this requires some planning ahead. About a month or two ahead, unfortunately! Right now, while you have fresh blackberries on hand, fill a jar and top them with warmed brandy. In a month or two, make yourself another Blackberry Rum Shrub and luxuriate in a brandied garnish, my friend.
So, here's what it takes to assemble your cocktail. Spoon up 1 Tbs of the blackberry shrub into the bottom of a stemmed flute (you may strain the seeds out by pressing it through a sieve, but I like the bits of seedy fruit so I leave them in). Top this with 2 oz (2 jiggers) of rum, light or dark, and top up the glass with club soda or other bubbly water such as San Pellegrino. Garnish with a few whole blackberries, fresh or brandied. Cheers! Take yourself out to the garden and toast the setting sun.

SummerSoiree is on at the Food Network blogsite! Stay tuned each week for fresh ideas for your finds at the Farmer's Market or delicious dishes for picnics and parties all summer long. Get more recipes here from friends and family:

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Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie's Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate's Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Haute Apple Pie: Classic Mojito
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FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)

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