Makes about 4 cups
A shrub, also known as drinking vinegar, is a drink from colonial times that combines fruit, vinegar and sugar then the mixture is generally left to macerate until all the liquid has been extracted from the fruit and the sugar has dissolved. I had not heard of a shrub until recently, but like other methods of preserving produce this drink has seen some resurgence. In this recipe, the cranberries are cooked with sugar and citrus much like a cranberry sauce, but vinegar and water are added and the mixture is simmered longer so all the fruit breaks down. Mix the shrub with sparkling water or wine or create a warming fall cocktail with bourbon.
12 ounces cranberries, picked over and stems removed
¾ cup white wine or Champagne vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 strips of orange or lemon zest
A few sprigs of thyme
Place all of the ingredients along with 2 ½ cups of water in a heavy sauce pan. Place the pan on a burner over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once at the boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until al the fruit has collapsed, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the mixture so that it is not cooking to quickly or getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Take the pan off the heat and cool. Remove the thyme sprig and the zest. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Cover the bowl and process until smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much as possible.
Pour the shrub into a glass quart jar and store sealed in the refrigerator for up to a month.