I don’t drink alcohol. Not only have I never been able to develop a taste for it I am highly allergic to it. If I drink more than one glass of wine I break out in hives all over my body. Sometimes I feel a little left out drinking a diet soda or glass of water when all the other grown-ups are sipping their cocktails. I have found that I can get away with a glass of wine now and then but most of the time I don’t bother. I have found that more and more restaurants are offering great non-alcoholic beverages on their bar menus. If I ever see a cocktail that has a vinegar base I am sure to order it immediately.
I love vinegar. Drinking vinegars in particular. They are shockingly refreshing and are great palate cleansers, and as a bonus they don’t leave that sugary taste in your mouth like most sodas do. There are a lot of different recipes for shrubs and some involve you fermenting the fruit for days and then boiling the mixture for an hour. I’ve been there and done that and came to the realization that it just isn’t necessary. Especially here where the delicate flavors of the strawberries and basil would be lost with a hard boil. This version takes almost no work at all. A little massage of the herbs and an overnight sit on the counter and then it’s ready to go!
I may have picked up sixteen pints of fresh strawberries at the farmers market and had to find a use for all of them. This was the firs time I made a strawberry vinegar but I loved it, especially with the addition of the Thai basil. I used rice vinegar since the strawberries are so delicate but apple cider vinegar is also a great option here. Once you strain the mixture, don’t toss the fruit! Use them on top of ice cream or a piece of cake. They would also make a great topping for waffles or pancakes or your stirred into your favorite bowl of oatmeal. The longer you let the shrub sit in the fridge the more concentrated the flavors will become. You can also just mix drink with straight water or try it in your favorite cocktail recipe.If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear what you think! Have some ideas for other flavor combinations? Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #scalingback on Instagram so I can see what you came up with! Have a great weekend!
- 1 cup packed fresh herbs (I used thai basil and mint)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- soda water
- lime wedges
- Place the basil in a large bowl and add the cup of sugar. Using your fingers or the back of a large spoon crush the leaves and squeeze the herbs and sugar until the whole mixture smells fragrant. The natural oils in the basil will work into the sugar and increase the flavor of the shrub. Add the strawberries, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. The next day add the cup of rice vinegar strain the mixture through a large sieve into a large glass jar or container. Don't toss the fruit! Use it on top of ice cream or a piece of cake. They would also be great on top of waffles or pancakes or your favorite bowl of oatmeal!
- To serve add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the syrup to a large glass filled with ice and then fill the rest of the glass with soda water. Garnish with fresh strawberries, extra herbs and a wedge of lime if desired. The syrup will keep up to six months in the refrigerator.