This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving.
I joined team shrub nearly a decade ago (this Black Raspberry Shrub was the first one I shared on this site). Most commonly made with equal parts fruit, sugar, and vinegar, shrubs can track their lineage back to the Colonial era.
It’s an easy way to preserve small amounts of fresh fruit and transform them into a syrup that is good in cocktails, pan sauces, and tall glasses of sparkling water (my preferred usage).
I’ve been turning to shrubs during this period of social isolation as a way to give myself a treat. During the day, I mostly drink coffee, lactation tea, and water, but when late afternoon rolls in, I like to pull out one of my new Ball® Flute Jars (they make me feel so fancy!), and make myself an instant shrub sparkler.
Sometimes I take the time to make a batch of shrub for the fridge (I prefer the cold process method), but there’s almost always a gap between the time when a batch runs out and I find the time to make a new batch. That’s when my trick for instant shrub comes in.
In the jar I plan on using for my drink, I combine two parts jam with one part vinegar (if you think about it, this roughly mimics the ratios found in most recipes) and whisk them to combine. If I have any tender fresh herbs (like mint or basil) around, I will bruise them and add them to the party for additional flavor.
Now, I want to pause here to say that this technique leaves you with a bit of jam sediment in your drink. If you hate that, you can sieve your jam/vinegar slurry. In my previous, before twins life, I would have done that. But these days, I have approximately 45 seconds to make this from start to finish and so sieving is a thing of the past. Thankfully, I don’t mind the bits.
Once your jam and vinegar is well-combined, give it a quick taste so that you can adjust the balance should it be necessary. Too sweet? Add a touch more vinegar. Too astringent? A little more jam. Just remember that you’re about to dilute your instant shrub with sparkling water, so it’s okay that it is strong.
Finally, add your sparkling water. My seltzer maker and I are inseparable so my water is plain, but if yours comes with a bit of flavor, make sure to choose one that complements the jam you started with.
And that’s really it. On very hot days, I add ice cubes. If you drink alcohol, a splash of aromatic gin would be nice (I’m still breastfeeding my boys, so booze is mostly off the table for me these days). You could also add a drop of bitters if you have some. However, I like it just as described, particularly in these times where we’re all searching for ways to infuse pleasure into our days.
Oh, and just one more thing. I also really like these new because they’re a bit harder for babies to knock over than my traditional drinking glasses (I think it’s the wide base) but not at all precious should one get broken. It’s funny how much my requirements for glassware have changed.