Bar Therapy

DIY Cranberry Shrub Cocktail and Cocktail Bar

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Last time it was all about homemade fizzy cocktails bottled by you.  This week, the handcrafted drink of choice includes another trendy ingredient, Shrub syrup.  You are probably thinking this recipe will include some gin and pine needles but trust me, the point of this syrup is to add edible flavor to just about any beverage.

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So what is shrub you ask? Stemming from the Arabic word sharab meaning syrup, this 18th century concept was born out of the same need as preserves. With refrigerators out of reach, homes were forced to become a bit crafty in keeping some of their summer food good for winter. Although shrub syrup was mostly used to flavor water, it did provide a great use for any left over fruits or vegetables after canning.  By the 19th century it began to find its way mixed into soda’s and eventually cocktails to add a tangy, sweet flavoring. Which brings us to today and your new need for homemade shrubs.

The recipe is extremely easy to follow and requires very little ingredients but when hosting a party, the presentation and eventual taste will win over every guest.

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In keeping with the festive mood that is the month of December this recipe will be for cranberry shrub.

~Cranberry Shrub Syrup

  • 3 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of champagne vinegar
  • handful of fresh clove, a few sticks of cinnamon for added flavor
  • mason jar or other container with tight seal
  • parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • mesh strainer

Normally you would just jump right into making the shub but cranberries aren’t naturally ready to play nicely with the other ingredients.  They are hard and unwilling to accept the good nature of sugar and vinegar so they must be baked first. With the oven at 350, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out your stubborn cranberries.  Bake for about 20 minutes until they’ve all popped (you’ll hear them if you stand by the oven) and look slightly deflated.

Okay so now you can begin making your shrub

  1. Pour roasted cranberries into your container
  2. Add sugar
  3. Mix the two together with a wooden spoon just enough to break up the cranberries a bit
  4. Store in a calm, dark place for at least 5 hours (if you’re in a rush) on up to 24 hours
  5. Now add the vinegar and cinnamon (if chosen)
  6. Stir until sugar is dissolved, cover and either put back in the dark place or in the refrigerator  for at least a week or until the flavor is to your liking
  7. When it is, strain making sure to press the fruit lightly getting all the hidden juices out.
  8. Place in another container until the vinegar flavor fades

The syrup will last for around 6 months and if you make it now it will be ready for your New Years Eve festivities.  As for the actual cocktail, pick your poison. Gin, rum and vodka all work well with the cranberry but incase you’re not in the mood to be anymore creative here’s a great recipe.

ABSOLUT Thanksgiving Cooler

  • 1 Part ABSOLUT Vanilia
  • 3 Parts Orange Juice
  • 1 Dash Cranberry Shrub
  • 1 Dash Lime Juice
  • Soda Water
  • Lime Wedge (for garnish)

Fill a chilled highball glass with ice cubes. Add ABSOLUT Vanilia, cranberry syrup, lime juice and orange juice. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

I’m thinking you can bottle everything individually and set them in an ice bucket.  Have another bucket with the glasses in it and on the table a cute handmade sign with the recipe.  Let the guests make it themselves and every once in a while check on the levels.

 

 

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