A shrub is a fruit and vinegar syrup that was originally made as a way to preserve fruit for the winter. Usually, sugar is added to the mixture to make sure the balance of the flavor stays on the sweet side. Shrubs have been enjoying a comeback with the rise of the craft cocktail scene, as people look back to “classic” recipes from decades ago as ways to infuse new flavor into drinks. Shrubs themselves aren’t alcoholic and while they’re often added to a cocktail for a splash of sweet-tart fruit flavor, they can also be served with juice, water or soda water to make a flavorful non-alcoholic drink.
My White Balsamic Macerated Peaches are actually a shrub, since they are made with sugar, peaches and white balsamic vinegar. The white balsamic itself is thick and syrupy, and adds a deliciously sharp and sweet flavor to the peaches. The shrub is excellent when served as a sauce over ice cream, but it also makes an excellent base for a summer soda!
If vinegar in a soda sounds odd – don’t worry. The tart flavor of the vinegar is a backdrop to the peach, and comes through the way the sharpness of fresh lemon does in lemonade. The drink is sweet and refreshing, and you can always add a little extra sugar to sweeten it up a bit if necessary. Vinegar is also said to be great for digestion, so this will cool you down and settle your stomach. I garnished mine with fresh peach slices, but a straw is really all you need to serve this drink.
White Balsamic Peach Shrub
1- 1 1/4 cups peeled, diced fresh peaches (2 medium peaches)
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp sugar, or to taste
chilled soda water
Combine all ingredients in a large jar or a tupperware container with a tight lid. Stir to combine, then cover tightly and place in the refrigerator. Allow peaches to marinate for 24-48 hours, gently shaking occasionally, before serving. A lot of juice will come out of the peaches as the mixture sits.
Shrub can be stored for at 1-2 weeks, refrigerated, before using.
To serve: Pour 3 tablespoons of shrub into a glass. Top with ice and 6 ounces of chilled soda water. Add additional shrub or soda to taste. Garnish with fresh peaches, if desired.
The recipe can be scaled up for larger quantities.