Craft Cocktails: Consider the Shrub
Craft cocktails, small batch bitters, artisanal shrubs and mixology are buzzwords and phrases that have been circulating for the last few years. A simple Rum and Coke® is no longer enough for the average consumer. Unique cocktail mixers such as shrubs make it easy for restaurants and bars to create authentic craft cocktails. A shrub is a cocktail mixer; mellow vinegar is infused with fruit juices, herbs or botanicals to create a tart, slightly sweet and intensely-flavored mix.
Shrubs are said to have been invented in the Middle East; the word itself comes from the Arabic word shariba, “to drink”. Before industrial agriculture and refrigeration, fruits were often preserved with vinegar and sugar to be enjoyed outside of the growing season. The resulting preserving liquid, called a shrub, was a sweet, tart balance of the sugary fruit juice and the acidic vinegar. In Colonial America, these original shrubs were mixed with cool water and enjoyed as a summertime drink. The sweet and fruity flavors helped to refresh, while the tartness roused an appetite (shrubs are also great for cooking!).
Shrubs made an unlikely comeback during Prohibition. For nearly 70 years, the Golden Age of cocktails shone upon bars throughout the United States. Those fruitful years gave birth to iconic cocktails such as the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned and the Tom Collins. The Prohibition meant that bartenders had to make do with the harsh flavors of bootleg alcohol. Shrubs were the ideal cocktail mixers for the time; their intense flavors helped to turn bathtub gin into mouthwatering cocktails. Cocktail culture and the use of shrubs largely faded after Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the subsequent rise of standardized food goods. Interest in the craft tentatively began to rise in the 1980s with iconic bars such as the Rainbow Room in New York.
The craft cocktail scene gained new traction in the 2000s as bartenders sought to recreate Pre-Prohibition drinks. Distilleries specializing in heritage American spirits, small batch liquors and local shrubs flourished throughout the country. Today, shrub-based cocktails have made a comeback on cocktail menus around the world. Easy-to-use, they pair well with a wide variety of spirits and mixers and produce tangy cocktails that are the perfect complement to bar food. Roland Foods is excited to introduce shrubs in nine assorted flavors. Check out the links below to learn more about them.
Discover delicious recipes using shrubs at: www.rolandfood.com/shrubs