I’m a Shrub (and proud of it)!
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.
Time to get creative?
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