Since I quit drinking alcohol 2 years back, homemade herbal shrubs have become my main squeeze for an evening drink. A splash of homemade shrub syrup added to fizzy water fills the void left by Malbec nicely (without the headache!).
Shrubs are easy to make, probiotic, and absolutely delicious. Also know as “drinking vinegars”, they are sweet + sour and nourishing.
I make mine with organic, raw apple cider vinegar, local raw honey, and whatever flavors speak to me at the moment. Added bonus: homemade shrubs are a zero- or near zero-waste drink option (especially if you have access to local vinegar or make your own, which is surprisingly easy.)
I wrote about shrubs in my book Herbal Adventures. (You’ll find a dandelion shrub on page 88 and a citrus and white pine shrub recipe on page 161. There’s also an elderberry switchel, which is similar to a shrub but a bit quicker from start to sip.) I also share my love of shrubs in Taproot Magazine BLOOM a year or so back, and there are still back issues in stock if you would like the recipes (and open-ended make up your own recipe guide).
Today’s shrub is made with lemongrass, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, aromatic clove, star anise, allspice, and lemon. And it’s divinely delicious. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, improvise. It’s surprisingly adaptable, so go off the rails and mix it up with whatever flavors you have on hand, using the instructions below for inspiration.
Ready to make your own? Then grab some vinegar, honey, fruits and aromatics. My recipe follows!
Turmeric, Lemongrass, and Cardamom Shrub Recipe
- 1 fresh lemon, halved + gently squeezed (reserve both peel and juice to add to the jar in step 1 below)
- 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 tsp whole clove
- 1 tsp whole allspice
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp ground, dried turmeric (a 1″ piece of fresh would be even nicer, but I was out)
- 1 large ginger root (just smaller than your palm) sliced, smashed, or grated. (No need to peel.)
- Place all ingredients in a mason jar.
- Fill 2/3 to 3/4 full with apple cider vinegar
- Top off with honey, and stir or shake well to combine.
- Infuse in a lidded glass jar out of direct sunlight but at room temperature for 7 to 14 days, shaking daily or as often as you think of it.
- Strain your shrub, squeezing to extract as much goodness as you can from the fruit and spices. Compost solids, and transfer liquid to a clean glass jar.
- Add a splash to fizzy water and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator. (Will keep for 6 months or more.)
Are you already crazy about shrubs? What’s your favorite combination?