What’s a Shrub?

A shrub – that’s a bush or a plant right?

Yes and no.

In this case I’m talking about a drink of sorts. Shrubs have their roots in the 17th and 18th century. Indeed, were talking about a concoction that was consumed by our ancestors hundreds of years ago! So what is it? Shrubs are a syrup of sorts, made from brandy, wine or vinegar along with fruit, herbs and sugar. The end result is a tasty mixture that’s both sweet, sour and extremely flavorful.

Recently, while volunteering at Seattle Tilth’s Harvest Festival I ran into Rebecca, owner and alchemist behind The Shrubbery. She generously shared samples with my husband and I. We left with three flavors – black cherry, raspberry lime and peach brown sugar. Later, my husband and I had a tiff about why we didn’t pick up the apricot rosemary too!

For the past month we’ve been playing with recipes – smoothies, mixed drinks, spritzers, you name it. But the best way to drink shrubs we’ve found, is to drink it straight with hot water. During a recent cold, I survived almost exclusively on hot drinks made from 2 tablespoons of shrub and 8 oz. boiling water.

For such an old-timey concoction, we’ve been surprised at the versatility of shrubs. If your interested in trying a shrub for yourself, you can either pick some up locally in the Seattle area, order some online, or if your really adventurous, make your own!

For more info, check out The Shrubbery website.

Photo Credit: Untitled. Lee Davenport. Licensed under creative commons license 2.0

1 Comment

  1. fairweatherpaddler October 15, 2015 at 8:50 am

    All I can think about now after reading this is the quote the Knights of Ni say in Monty Python’s film The Holy Grail – Bring me a shrubbery!
    Very intrigued by this and might well try concocting some myself – for medicinal purposes. The flavour combinations sound great.