Shrubs are a wonderful combination of fruit, sweetener and vinegar that can easily enhance your cocktails. It produces a sweet, tart flavour that you will begin to crave.
The fruit tastes like its truest self and the vinegar cuts right through it. Add it to a glass, then bubbles to make it bright and the alcohol just makes it that little bit better.
With a Blueberry Shrub, like any drinking vinegar, the trick is all about ratio. For many people, the sweet spot (or rather the sweet-tart spot) is a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar.
So for the Blueberry Shrub, we use one cup of blueberries, one cup of white sugar and one cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, which of course will give you three cups of the shrub.
The thing about shrubs is that you can choose whether you want time or heat to do the work. Really the choice comes down to time. A cold process shrub will take a couple of days to execute, while the hot process shrub is a couple of minutes.
For a cold process shrub
Assemble your blueberries and muddle sightly, so that the berry is broken, then place in a jar with the sugar.
Let this mixture sit, covered securely with a dishtowel, on your kitchen counter for about 2 days. Stir once a day.
After 2 days, strain the mixture into a measuring cup, discard the fruit, then combine the syrup with approximately an equal amount of the apple cider vinegar. Feel free to taste as you go, so that you get a shrub that is just sharp enough for you. Pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge.
For a hot process shrub
Make a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the slightly muddled blueberries and bring the syrup-fruit mixture to a low simmer.
Let it bubble away until the syrup has become the colour of the fruit and the fruit looks tired.
Stir in the vinegar and bring the mixture just to a simmer; strain out and discard the fruit (or serve it over vanilla ice cream), and pour the shrub into a jar. Keep it in the fridge.