A shrub is a tangy, fruity, vinegar-based drink that’s made a comeback in recent years as bartenders across the country continue to revive old-fashioned cocktails. Shrubs are typically made by combining vinegar, sugar, and fruit, and our version combines apple cider vinegar, fresh lavender (find it at your local nursery or grocery stores like Whole Foods), vanilla, and red plums, although you can swap out the plums for peaches or other stone fruits, if you have them on hand. A shrub requires a few days for the flavors to combine—you’re basically making a sweet, fruit-infused vinegar—so prepare it in advance and keep it stored in the refrigerator. It will keep, covered and chilled, up to 1 month—but we bet you’ll go through it faster than that. Use it as a cocktail mixer with bourbon or rye whiskey and club soda, or use it to flavor club soda on its own. It makes a wonderfully refreshing drink served “hard” or “soft.” So when those summer days start getting long and hot, be sure you have this sweet, fruit mixer on hand. You’ll be glad you did.
8 red plums, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 (1-in.) fresh culinary lavender sprigs
1 vanilla bean, split
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups bourbon or rye whiskey
6 cups club soda
lavender sprigs and plum slices, for garnish
How to Make It
Toss together 8 red plums, chopped, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 fresh culinary lavender sprigs, and 1 vanilla bean, split, in a medium bowl. Cover tightly, and let stand at room temperature 2 days.
Discard lavender sprigs and vanilla bean, and stir in 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar. Cover and chill 24 hours. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small pitcher, discarding fruit.
For each serving, pour 1/4 cup of the syrup over ice in a 12-ounce glass and stir in 3 tablespoons bourbon or rye whiskey. Top each with 1/2 cup club soda. Garnish with lavender sprigs and plum slices.