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  • Writer's pictureLiisa Lee

Bramble Shrub

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Taking refreshment and wellness back to the 17th century. I mean why not, right? Back in the day it was also called switchel, but by any name, it's still delicious. This was what colonists drank to stave off the heat of Summer, and how they preserved fruit for winter months. Now, most recipes for shrubs steep the fruit over night, but this is my quick and dirty version for a small batch, to serve guests the same day.

Short and sweet. Let's go.


8 oz frozen berry mixture (I used a mix from Trader Joes) 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup cider vinegar*

1/4 cup water, or apple cider


Place the all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, to dissolve the sugar, extract the juice from the berries and marry the flavors, but not quite reduced into a syrup. (Unless you want to, it's your life, so go for it) Adjust to your tastes.

When ready, this should be sweet, a bit tart, dark, and beautiful.

Strain the mixture through a sieve into a sterilized jar or bottle. Discard the fruit, or use it in desserts. ( a buckle, a pie, etc) Fill a glass with ice - crushed preferably. Add club soda or mineral water. (I used Simply Organic lemon-lime) Add a few table spoons of the shrub Garnish with berries and basil.

Enjoy. If you want to ..fortify...this drink, as the colonists or sailors would say, a shot of vodka, rum, or gin would do nicely. *Changing up the kind of vinegar and kind of sugar is a fun twist on flavors.

Brown sugar will give this some caramel notes. Balsamic or champagne vinegar will deepen or lighten the taste, respectively. Cheers!

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