As a Currong Comestibles Shrub I have a proud heritage. I’m also known as a ‘drinking vinegar’ and then there’s my cousin ‘Switchtel’ (another story).
Vinegar ‘drinks’ have been popular around the world, throughout history. The very name itself goes back to antiquity.
Shrub– The word/name is derived from the Persian (sharāb, “wine”) and Arabic word sharāb meaning "to drink".
Our recipe is based on the popular 18thcentury beverage served around the world but which because exceedingly popular in colonial America. Shrubs were so popular in colonial America that the beverage is sometimes considered to be ‘American’ but was equally common on the other side of the Atlantic in Britain.
These speciality cordials were also popular in Australia. Check out the Raspberry Vinegar Cordial recipe (reprinted from an 1864 cookbook) on page 85 in Eat Your History a chronicle of Australian culinary history. This tome by Jacqui Newling (Sydney Living Museums) is a fantastic historical journal and cookbook on Australian eating habits from the original Aboriginal inhabitants through the 50’s.
Enjoyed around the country, Shrubs were the perfect, non-alcoholic drink. For farmers, it was seen as as ‘extra benefit’ of preserving their fruit. Farmers added vinegar to the fruit along with sugar (or honey) and it made the fruit palatable for longer periods. This vinegar based sweetened fruit was called a Shrub. They poured off any excess liquid and mixed it with water for a refreshing beverage that was also called a Shrub. With the introduction of refrigeration Shrubs became less common. By the end of the 1800’s this method of preserving was virtually lost.
Some say Shrubs were popular in America because people wanted an alternative to tea (because of high taxes). Or maybe it was just that I was easy to make and enjoy. Whatever the reason I revelled in the popularity! And I stayed popular until the late 1800’s when refrigeration came into vogue. (But now I’m back and loving my newfound recognition and acceptance.)
Fast forward to the 21st century and Shrubs have found new popularity. Artisan bartenders, mixologists and restaurateurs have all rediscovered this refreshing beverage. And these drink sensations have now spread from the US to Canada, Australia and London.
Shrubs are the ideal ingredient to add flavour to cocktails, mocktails and punches. Currong Comestibles has the added unique element of indigenous Australian fruits for totally unique flavours. (Not to mention our flavourful Apple Cider Vinegar base.) But I’m multi-talented! As a Shrub I’m also fabulous in marinades and as super quick salad dressing. In fact I’ll probably work in any recipe that calls for vinegar and citrus. (And being super concentrated you will probably only need a ‘dash’!)
How does your history taste? If you’ve been drinking our Shrubs you’re enjoying a double dose of history thanks to our 40,000 year old ingredients and 200+ year old recipes.
So how do you like our Riberry and Rainfrest Lime Shrubs? Cocktail, mocktail, with or without alcohol? What’s your favourite tipple?
Time to get creative?
Culinary Trivia Info:
The original ‘root’ of Shrub, the Persian and Arabic words sharāb (meaning "wine and to drink") have also given English the words syrup and sherbet.
Mother’s Day should be a day of ‘Thanks’and in honour of the day I wanted to create a ‘girlie’ cocktail, pretty and pink and totally unique in flavour The Galah.
This rose coloured beauty is a delicious culinary fusion, ‘spiritually’ Australian and a very special drink.
It’s an ideal cocktail for an afternoon of sipping, laughing and relishing good company, family or otherwise🍸😋!
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I’m more than just a pretty face for an evening of fun! I’m a fabulous Chutney that’s great for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and between meals and for Drinks too! I’m additive free and with no artificial flavours and/or colours I work with everyone 😋!
My tart and spicy, Riberry flavour makes me Australia’s answer to cranberries and I’m the ideal companion to roast 🍗turkey and lamb.
But have you also considered what other meals, recipes and dishes could seriously lift their game with just a dash of Currong Comestibles Spicy Riberry Chutney? Keep reading!
Take breakfast up a notch with just a ‘smear’ of Spicy Riberry Chutney instead of the usual tomato sauce on your usual Bacon & Egg Roll! It’s unique blend of ingredients and spices lend a triple ‘s’ taste sensation (sweet, savoury and spicy) to this breakfast basic.
Looking for variations to this classic AM starter? Try turkey bacon instead of the traditional pork. Sydney’s Black Forest Smokehouse makes and smokes this delicious treat in-house 😋!
Prefer no meat? Try lightly grilled haloumi cheese and fried egg with a touch of the Chutney!
Going Vegan? Add a touch of the Chutney to sautéed tofu for a flavour boost.
An all-time favourite is a Turkey & Brie sandwich. Add a touch of Oz with our Riberry Chutney rather than the standard cranberry sauce. The slight spiciness of the Chutney gives added depth to the fillings instead of just sweetness.
Or chillout with a Ploughmans Lunch for a ‘no work’ meal. The Chutney is a beautiful taste break with the rest of the assorted nibbles!
Go traditional and our Spicy Riberry Chutney goes perfectly with any roast although our favourites are Turkey and Lamb. (And it’s even better on a cold leftover sandwich the next day!)
A bit of this and a bit of that is the perfect combo for Chutney. Just a few spoonfuls add the perfect dimensions to a quick snack. We’ve paired it here with some pate and cheddar for a filling snack.
So I’m ready to start ‘hanging out’ anytime you want.
PS – I’m even fabulous in cocktails. Have you tried an Oz Red Snapper?
BTW I’m Vegan too 🍏😍!
Whether you’re looking for something new for a belated Valentine’s Day celebration, Galentines Day or just the approaching end of summer, we know that you will enjoy and savour the taste of this glorious cocktail.
The ‘Oz Pimm’s’ is our ode to summer flavours and was first ‘created’ back in October 2018 at the Wahroonga Food & Wine Festival. Our festival 'neighbour' was Pimm’s and once we started chatting we couldn’t help but try each other’s wares. One thing lead to another and by late afternoon this was our favourite drink!
The great thing about this cocktail is that it’s super easy to make (and even easier to enjoy). For me this drink was perfect. Light, refreshing and not overly alcoholic it worked with meals throughout the summer whether salads, BarBQues, chicken, fish and cheese platters! (Virtually everything except the Christmas roast!)
And just as Pimm’s is perfect for Wimbeldon’s tennis tournament, the Oz Pimm’s was the ideal cocktail for the Australian Open! So go ahead and enjoy a few. (After all summer is over in a fortnight!)
15 ml Riberry Shrub
45 ml Pimm’s Cup #1
Garnish: Strawberry + Cucumber + Orange Slice + Mint Leaves
- In cocktail shaker, muddle Mint Leaves with Riberry Shrub.
- Add Pimm’s and shake to mix.
- Fill ‘Tumbler’ with ice. Pour Pimm’s + Shrub mix over ice.
- Top with Ginger Ale and stir to mix.
- Garnish with extra Mint Leaves + Cucumber + Orange Slice + Strawberry
You can also think of this as a totally historical cocktail as it’s based on Pimm’s Cup #1 (approx. 1850) + vinegar Shrub (approx. 1700’s) made with Riberries (Australian indigenous fruit, approx. 35,000 BC).
It’s always nice to know that you’re enjoying something that’s been around for awhile!
How can it be December already 🤪? With less than a fortnight to go, Christmas is literally around the corner! But don’t panic about the menu. Instead be pro-active and use multi task ingredients and recipes.
Here’s a drink idea that sure to become a family favourite. The initial recipe is a non-alcoholic mocktail that everyone will enjoy. It’s a great holiday punch that’s light, refreshing and not too sweet. Simple, easy and with only four ingredients this recipe is the perfect way to stay hydrated on lazy summer afternoons!
But don’t be fooled this recipe easily morphs into a delightful cocktail that works whatever the weather.
Sydney Sunset Punch
1 Ltr. Apple Juice
1 Ltr. Unsweetened (strong) Mint Tea
1/2 Ltr. Watermelon Juice
1/2 Cup Rainforest Lime Shrub
- Mix well & chill.
The punch looks beautiful and is ideal to serve via a ‘help yourself’ punch bowl. Feel free to add chunks of melon and strawberries. (If you have the time ‘mix & refreeze’ and serve as a semi-slushie. At the very least don’t forget the ice!)
For a special touch serve in coupechampagne glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of edible flowers💐. We love the festive Williams-Sonoma Vintage Etched Coupe photographed.
(Grownups can add up to 30ml Gin (personal favourite: Poor Tom’s Strawberry Gin) + (optional) 2 drops orange bitters per serving ‘topup’🍸.)
Quick, Easy and totally refreshing - Drinks organized with and without alcohol! Next task?!