Thanksgiving beverage: Old-fashioned shrubs

A refreshing acidic drink that can be mixed with water, seltzer or your favorite beverage. Delight your Thanksgiving guests with a drink that is full of flavor and zing.

Garden of Eating
A shrub can bring a classic drink to your Thanksgiving table. (This image is a close up of the cover from "Shrubs: An Old-fashioned drink for modern times" by Michael Dietsch.)

The idea of drinking vinegar may wrinkle your nose but there is something strangely delicious and deeply refreshing about a shrub – an acidulated beverage made with fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients that can be drunk mixed with water, seltzer or your favorite beverage.

When I first heard about shrubs a few years back, I was highly skeptical. A fruit-based drink made with vinegar? Gross! But then I tried a few and found the mixture of sweet and tart to be strangely compelling and more than a little addictive.

So when I saw that drinks expert, Michael Dietsch had written a book about them that is beautifully photographed by his wife, Jennifer Hess, who happens to be my Facebook friend, I ordered one à tout de suite.

Dietsch's writing is enjoyably conversational and he's packed this little volume full of fun and fascinating historical notes about this beverage that was a staple in Colonial America, drool-inducing recipes, and creative cocktail ideas. See below for Dietsch's recipe for a simple, cranberry-apple shrub that would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry-Apple Shrub
From "Shrubs: An Old-fashioned drink for modern times" by Michael Dietsch

Yields 1 cup of shrub syrup

3 medium apples, quartered (no need to core or seed them)
1 cup cranberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1. Shred the apples using a box grater or a food processor.

2. Add the cranberries and vinegar to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed.

3. Put the shredded apples, cranberry-vinegar mixture and sugar in a nonreactive container. Cover and leave in cool place on the counter top for 2 days.

4. After 2 days, strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, squeezing to remove any remaining liquid – you can compost the solids that are leftover.

5. Pour the liquid into a clean Mason jar or glass bottle. Cover tightly with a lid or cap and shake well. Store in the fridge. Shrub will keep for up to one year.

For a chance to win a copy of "Shrubs: An old-fashioned drink for modern times," go to Garden of Eating

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