Anyone who says non alcoholic cocktails are flat and one-dimensional in flavor has not experienced the incredible world of shrubs!
If you haven’t heard of a shrub before, it’s also called “drinking vinegar”. And if I haven’t totally scared you away yet, stick around to see an incredible cocktail that is as delicious as it is layered and multi-dimensional. You won’t miss the alcohol one bit!
For those new to shrubs, the idea of drinking vinegar can be a bit off-putting. But bear with me and (if you can), give this cocktail a try to see why shrubs can be so great, especially when trying to create a drink that’s interesting without the alcohol.
A Garden “Shrub”
The base of this cocktail is a cucumber lemon shrub, made by combining grated cucumber with lemon zest and leaving it to macerate. (You could argue it’s a maceration or kind of an Oleo. I won’t argue with you, you’re both right!) The time allows the sugar to pull all of the juice out of the cucumber and the oils out of the lemon.
The next day, you’ll find a jar of soupy, delicious smelling mess. But don’t strain it out! Rather, add some vinegar* and put it back in the fridge for one more day.
24 hours later, strain out your shrub and have a taste. Delicious, right? The shrub is slightly sweet, tangy from the vinegar, and aromatic from all of the lemon oils as well. It’s like a garden in a glass. And that’s where the inspiration for this cocktail came from.
As we mentioned years ago in this Q&A post, don’t just choose any old vinegar for your shrubs. In fact, the type you use is very important! Some vinegars are incredibly strong and overwhelming (lookin’ at you, Balsamic) and some are very gentle, like Champagne vinegar or this one, Datu Pitu. In fact, 90% of the shrubs Chris makes use this vinegar for exactly that reason. It’s a much lighter style of vinegar and a better choice for something you’ll be drinking. (Rather than, say, cleaning your coffee maker).
Topping it Off
Finishing off this cocktail, Chris added a bit of Seedlip Garden 108, (which, full disclosure, we received as a sample – Thanks Seedlip!). It felt like the perfect choice for this already gardeny concoction. The final drink is a true botanical experience! It is spicy, refreshing, slightly savory and very, very interesting. (Not in a “Oh grandma, your potato salad tastes interesting kind of way.)
So if you’re looking for something delicious and interesting to drink, but you aren’t feeling like something boozy, consider giving this one a try. Plus, since there’s no alcohol, you can have as many as you want!
BELL JIGGER – COPPER
Beautiful copper finish, stunning vintage style and comfortable design to boot? This jigger has a wide-mouth style for quick pouring and a hard edge to avoid drips. It’s going to be your go-to jigger, I promise!
- 1.5 oz Seedlip Garden 108
- 1.5 oz Cucumber and lemon shrub
- 1.0 oz Soda Water
Cucumber and lemon shrub
- 1/2 each English Cucumber
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 each Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 oz Vinegar Datu Puti
- Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled highball
- Stir to combine and enjoy
Sub Ingredient Instructions
- Coarsely grate the cucumber and zest the lemon
- Combine both in a glass container along with the sugar
- Allow to macerate for 24 hours in the fridge
- After 24 hours add datu pitu vinegar and allow to infuse for 24 hours more
- Fine strain before using.