My daughter-in-law-to-be’s parents gave us a book for the holidays called Shrubs – An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch. I had never heard of a shrub before but since they are from Northern California where all cool trends start, I eagerly read more to enlighten myself!
A shrub is a colonial day drink, derived from the Arabic word sharab, to drink. It’s a concentrated syrup made from fruit, vinegar and sugar and then mixed with water, seltzer or alcohol.
I decided to try the Fresh Ginger Shrub since it was used in the recipe for Moscow Mules in the next chapter. I peeled 4 or 5 large pieces of fresh ginger, cut them into smaller pieces and pulsed them in the food processor. Then I squeezed the pureed ginger into a sieve lined with paper towel to get 1/2 cup of ginger juice. I added 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup sugar and put it in a mason jar.
When I tested my shrub, my mouth puckered! This was spicy from the ginger and tangy from the apple cider vinegar. But it’s meant to be a concentrate so I knew enough to wait until I mixed it with vodka and lime juice!
The next day I made the Moscow Mules from the book. They called for 2 oz vodka, 1 oz fresh lime juice, 3/4 oz fresh ginger shrub and soda water. Friends were over for dinner and they were game to try the drink so I filled four glasses with ice, followed the recipe, added a little tonic water and a lime garnish and we clinked our glasses and drank. The faces we made were not pretty! This was a tart drink that tasted like a lot of ginger and apple cider vinegar! With the addition of more vodka and tonic, we got the ratios right and it was a very refreshing summer cocktail.
Most of the recipes involve fruit as the original idea behind a shrub was the vinegar would preserve the fruit before the days of refrigeration. The NYTimes has a recipe for Summer Fruit Shrub from the same book if you are curious to try making one but I scared you off with the ginger recipe! If you like kombucha, you will probably like shrubs. Let us know if you try it!
I forget how much I love soup during the summer. And then I have some on a cool day and can’t wait to make a different one every week. I just made Carrot and Ginger soup from the cookbook Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho la Puerta on Sunday and love the flavour, colour and creamy consistency from the coconut milk.
Here is my slightly modified version of the soup from Rancho la Puerta.
Carrot and Ginger Soup
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I used more)
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 tsp salt (or more if needed)
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
In a large stockpot, heat the oil, saute the carrots and onion and cook til soft. Add the garlic, ginger, squash and apple and saute. Add the stock and salt. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
Puree the soup until smooth with an immersion blender, add the coconut milk and more salt if needed. Garnish with chives and diced pears. (I skipped this step!) Enjoy!
People tend to either love or hate ginger. If you are a hater, stop reading now! However, if you can’t get enough of it, let me tell you about ginger syrup! Remember when you had a stomach ache as a kid and your mom told you to drink flat ginger ale?! That’s because ginger settles your stomach. I always travel with ginger candies for bumpy plane and car rides and now I have a jar of ginger syrup in the frig.
A friend of mine gave me a recipe for a drink with ginger syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice and vodka. I have made the drink several times and served it to friends – it’s like fun truth serum!
It starts with ginger syrup. Chop about 1/3 cup fresh ginger into small pieces (you don’t have to peel it). Add it to 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring this mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool and then strain it.
To make the Ginger Lime Koolaid
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz ginger syrup
- 2-4 oz vodka
Shake mixture over ice. Pour into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh lime.
I usually make a double batch of ginger syrup and store it in the frig. I add a spoonful to seltzer for homemade ginger ale and add it to hot water for soothing ginger tea. Try it and let us know what you think.