I really enjoy CommonPlace Coffee in Pittsburgh. They roast and brew a mighty tasty drink. I am entertained by their workers. But lately, a new delight has taken hold of my whimsey….their shrub drink syrups. No, no, they have no flowering plants (though that might make for a nice atmosphere, hint, hint). They have been, however, delighting me recently with this drinkable shrub and I am taken. I am sure you will be too.
Refreshingly springtime, the shrub tingles the tongue and makes me bubble with happiness. While I am sure that the true roots of the drink remain elsewhere (thinking the sharbat of Persian origin etc.), this American rendition has its roots in colonial times. Infusing vinegar with fruit was one other way to preserve abundance of fruit without refrigeration. You can take a trip down to Colonial Williamsburg and sip on a shrub at an old tavern while whittling the time away OR you can kick it on your porch with this simple & inexpensive treat.
This recipe is quite simple. All you need is smashed fruit, sugar and vinegar. The options are yours within these parameters.
Wanting to recreate my coffeeshop experience, I was thrilled to come across a 7 for $1 deal on kiwi at the produce outlet. In this case, there is not a dire need to find organic since you will be peeling the fruit. Theoretically, organic is always preferable but practically, this deal could not be beat.
What are the proportions, you ask? It is quite simple, 1:1:1 [Fruit:Sugar:Vinegar], for the most part. I did lessen the sugar in this case as the fruit was already pretty sweet. These proportions left me with a strongly flavored, nicely sweetened syrup that still retains the depth of the character of the kiwi. Quite frankly, it is mighty tasty.
You may also ask, what kind of vinegar or sugar for this particular shrub? For this drink, do not use the kind of vinegar you would clean your windows with. Obtain some raw apple cider vinegar. It tastes more robust & clean and many say has a multitude of health benefits. I used my standby organic cane sugar for this syrup.
Promises that we will be returning to our fermentation seminar, this time on water kefir very soon. In the meantime, this is quite a digestivo!
Kiwi Shrub Syrup
makes about a 3/4 a liter of syrup when completed
- 2 cups of kiwi
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1. Cut each kiwi in half. Using a spoon, gently scoop the inside out, running the spoon between the fruit between the fruit and the skin.
2. Scoop fruit into a bowl. Add the sugar and lightly mix. Cover and let sit in the fridge for about 3 days.
3. When you have a bowl of fruit swimming in luscious fruity syrup, you are ready. Place fruit in a strainer over a bowl. Gently press fruit and stir it around until all liquid has been extracted. At this point you may reserve the fruit to use on yogurt or toast. It will be tasty for a few days. It is like free jam!
4. Using a funnel, pour syrup into a jar. Pour in the apple cider vinegar. Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake that jar.
5. When the liquids are combined, place it in the fridge. Theoretically, you could keep this on the counter. Since I have refrigeration, I will use it to keep the syrup even longer. Let the mixture infuse for at least 10 days before using.
6. Use your taste buds to define how much you will use. This particular syrup serves me well at a 1:3 ratio of syrup:sparkling water.]
If you are in the Pittsburgh area you are lucky enough to be able to obtain some of the world’s finest seltzer delivered to your door from Pittsburgh Seltzer Works. If you pick some up you get to play with vintage seltzer bottles and display them all over your apartment until you drink them up. Two-in-one I say!