A tangy vinegar base makes shrubs (aka fruity vinegar syrups) irreplaceable in cocktails that call for them. “I find they bring a level of brightness that no citrus or liqueur can,” says Cynthia Turner, bar manager at The Magnetic Field in Asheville, North Carolina. In this swizzle, Turner pairs a fresh strawberry shrub with a zesty ginger beer and aged rum for a firecracker of a summer sipper.
1 1/2 oz. aged rum
1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. strawberry shrub
3/4 oz. ginger beer
Shaved ice (or crushed)
Tools: swizzle stick
Garnish: 3 dashes Angostura bitters, lime wedge
Combine rum, simple syrup, lime juice and strawberry shrub in a tall glass. Top with shaved ice and ginger beer, then swizzle until the drink is well chilled. Garnish with bitters and a lime wedge.
Strawberry shrub: Slice 20 fresh strawberries, place them in a glass bowl or jar, and mix in 2 cloves and 3/4 cup cane sugar, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, simmer the mixture in a saucepan to further soften the strawberries. Remove from heat, add 6 oz. aged sherry vinegar (Turner uses Columela Solera 30), and strain. Add 3/4 oz. ruby Port, bottle and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or for up to 2 weeks.
Cynthia Turner, The Magnetic Field, Asheville, N.C.