THE MIXER OF THE MOMENT In-the-know bartenders have unearthed yet another trick from the past: the shrub. The oddly named mixer, first used in the Colonial era, is a combination of fruit or vegetables and sugar spiked with aged vinegar. The concoction adds a tang to cocktails…To create a shrub cocktail at home, try apple-ginger-pear [...]
What in the world is a shrub, or Why would I drink vinegar??
Shrubs are the colonial version of sipping vinegars; switchel is specifically used for the ginger version. When pirates and sailors from England and Spain “discovered” Asia, this is one of the things they brought back with them – a delicious way to preserve fruit and keep water drinkable, no matter how “bottom of the barrel” it was.
Our drinking vinegars are made with distilled white vinegar, cane sugar, and fruit. Why use white vinegar? The flavor of the vinegar changes the flavor of the shrub considerably, and we want our sipping vinegars to highlight the fruit, not the vinegar. Our exception is the Pirate Lemon, which is as close to the colonial recipe we can get (apple cider vinegar, honey and lemons).
I learned to make sipping vinegars as a little girl, taught by my great-uncle Steve and my great-aunt Lette. I’ve adjusted their recipe a bit, of course – Steve’s original is notoriously short on the measurements the Department of Ag kind of likes us to have, and letting the shrub sit overnight isn’t practical – but they’ve both given their seal of approval on the final product and were excited to see it becoming a popular item!
Just How Local Are We?
For the 2011 season, we bought bottles (made in France) from Vancouver and Seattle; sugar and vinegar at Cash & Carry, and fruit as follows:
- Stawberries: Columbia Farms, Unger Farms
- Blueberries: Sauvie Island Blueberries, Unger Farms
- Raspberries: Kruger’s, Unger Farms
- Marionberries: Baggenstos Farms
- Peaches: ProFarm Organics, Maryhill Orchards
- Nectarines: ProFarm Organics, Maryhill Orchards
- Cherries: Maryhill Farm, Smiley’s Red Barn
- Pumpkins: Plumper Pumpkin Patch
- Fennel: Big Fork Farm, Persephone Farm
- Mint: Big Fork Farm, Gales Meadow
- Quince: Gales Meadow
- Huckleberries: Ron the Mushroom Guy
- Honey: Mountain Meadow
- Apples: Mason Hill, Albeke
Sage & Sea Farms, LLC
business @ 5037 N Concord Portland OR 97217
bottled @ 609 SE Ankeny Portland OR 97214
Hits From The Blog
After a non-stop November and December, we took a few weeks away from the keyboard, the cookpot, and the vendor table, and just relaxed! Now we’re ready for a whole new year, with some exciting changes coming soon. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to hear about flavors and locations first, and welcome to [...]