The Wildrye Blackberry Shrub

A shrub is an old-school way of preserving fruit that was used before refrigeration was available. The word shrub, as used in this case, is derived from the arabic word: Sharab, which means “to drink”. The basic idea originated in England circa the 17th century, and used sugar and vinegar to preserve a fruit-and-sugar syrup. The practice was adapted in colonial America. The “modern" recipe, which evolved here, dates back to the 19th century. 

A typical colonial era shrub consisted of berries or other fruit coated with sugar or honey. The fruit/sugar mix was allowed to sit (infuse) for several days to create a sweet fruit syrup which was then preserved for long-term storage by the addition of vinegar (usually apple cider, but other types are also used). The resulting sweet and sour syrup could then be mixed with water, soda, or spirits to produce a refreshing and colorful beverage. This type of preservation was almost totally forgotten due to the widespread availability of home refrigerators.

Lately, the rise in popularity of classic cocktails has revived the practice. At Wildrye, we use our spiced beet sugar rum: Wildrye Ramsdell’s Parrot Dark Rum to prepare our very own version of this classic cocktail.

Recipe: The Blackberry Parrot Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Wildrye Ramsdell’s Parrot Dark Beet Rum
1 oz. Blackberry shrub
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup 

To make our shrub we combine equal parts berries (huckleberries or blackberries) and pure cane sugar. This is allowed to infuse overnight at which time an equal part of apple cider vinegar is added. This mixture is allowed to mellow at least overnight (a week or more is preferable).

Shrub:
1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Cup cane sugar
1 Cup apple cider vinegar

Wildrye specializes in the production of unique spirits prepared almost entirely from Montana-grown ingredients. Rather than importing raw materials from out-of-state to try and imitate established liquor styles, we use local ingredients to create spirits that have their own unique Montana style and taste. Visit them online at www.wildryedistilling.com or at their tasting room at 101 East Oak Street,  Hours Daily  3 - 8 PM

Photos: Mallory Grace Photo (middle and left)


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