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Nov 18, 2014

A Celebratory Mocktail: The Cranberry Shrub

Tis the season to celebrate. Not only is my favorite holiday rapidly approaching (Thanksgiving) but I'm also excited to share that I am pregnant with my first child. Yay for babies!! Or baby, to be more precise. However, actually celebrating this happy news in the manner that I am accustomed (i.e. several cocktails) is, alas, not recommended for those who are in my condition. Thus, I've made it my pregnancy mission to discover a decent mocktail.

So far I've been rather disappointed; most mocktails I've encountered have been depressingly one-note. Many of my favorite cocktails are just sugary messes without the addition of alcohol, but not the shrub cocktail. Shrubs, for the uninitiated, are sweetened vinegar-based syrups infused with fruit or herbs. It might seem odd to drink vinegar, but the sourness balances out the sugary fruit and syrup in much the same way alcohol tempers a sweet mixer.

Cranberry Shrub Mocktail
(makes about 1.5 cups of syrup)


For the shrub:
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup white-wine vinegar

For the mocktail:
Seltzer or club soda
Twist of lemon peel


Combine cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

For each mocktail, fill a highball glass with ice. Add 1/4 cup of shrub liquid, 1 tablespoon of shrub cranberries, and top with seltzer or club soda. Garnish with a lemon twist. Serve immediately.

The shrub will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, though you should be sure to discard earlier if you notice any signs of mold or fermentation.You can try to create a shrub with any kind of fruit using more or less the same recipe as above: cup of fruit, cup of vinegar, cup of sugar, a.k.a. cuppa cuppa cuppa. Also feel free to experiment with different vinegars: red wine, balsamic and apple cider are all good options. And of course, if you are not pregnant, feel free to add in the booze of your choice. Two ounces of bourbon or vodka would go very nicely with this shrub, I'd imagine. Let me know what you think!

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