The Summer of Shrubs is upon us and to kick things off we have created a Cherry Balsamic Shrub. Now, as you may, or may not, know, the shrub is a vinegar drink that dates back to the late 1600's. It is basically a fruit syrup mixed with vinegar and then served with club soda or tonic, and with or without booze. Either way, with or without booze, it is a really refreshing summer drink. There is something about the vinegar that is just so, so cooling. A lot of shrubs go with a 1:1:1 ratio, by which I mean 1 part fruit, 1 part sugar, 1 part vinegar, but I prefer 1:⅔:⅔, so 1 cup of fruit to ⅔ cup of sugar and vinegar. The beauty of the shrub is that it you can just play with it and see what works for you. Change the type of sugar or the type of vinegar and you have a completely different drink. Play with the ratios and, again, a different drink.
Go to town and have fun! The Summer of Shrub has just begun!!!
Pit the cherries and mash them a bit using a muddler or a mixing spoon. You want to break them, but not completely purée them. Mix in the sugar, covering the fruit completely, and let stand. I put mine in the 'fridge for 24 hours, but like everything in the shrub, that is up to you. I also added a little bit of mint to add a bit of an aromatic.
After the fruit has macerated with the sugar, strain out the juice into a jar or bowl. Don't chuck the fruit! You can use if for something else, like pancakes or fruit spread. Add the vinegar. If there is still sugar clinging to the fruit, pour the vinegar and fruit mixture over the fruit and strain again. You may want to pour the fruit and vinegar through a cheese clothe to strain out the larger fruit particles, but that is up to you.
Add the mixture to clean, preferably sterilized, jar, cap and put int he fridge. Again, the next step is up to you. You can either wait 24 hours, occasionally shaking up the mixture, or you can wait a week. If you choose to wait a week, the flavors will balance out a bit more, but if not, it will still be really tasty!