Shrubs are a free-form thing. The basic formula’s pretty simple: fruit, sugar and vinegar. How much, what kinds, how they’re combined and how they’re used is then all up to the bartender.
Caitlin Corcoran, a barista at Parisi Artisan Coffee in Union Station, created a signature drink with a cold press honey crisp apple shrub that was good enough to qualify her for the U.S. Barista Championship competition in Portland this April.
And then there are the guys at Westport Cafe & Bar. They had a line of shrubs aging when I dropped in a while back, including orange, red plum-red wine, and green apple. Some go into non-alcoholic sodas, most notably the sweet-and-sour orange soda served at Westport Street Fare.
I love a good savory soda and have even started making them at home, but shrubs in cocktails make me even happier. WC&B combines their orange shrub with Famous Grouse Scotch whisky and Cherry Heering to make WC&B’s Blood & Glass, a stirred riff on the classic Blood & Sand.
“It’s really velvety and smooth versus the Blood & Sand, which is almost like a broken vinaigrette,” owner Aaron Confessori told me. He and business partner Richard Wiles also use shrubs at The Boot, which they opened in February. Continue Reading