Michael Dietsch's new book, Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times brings the shrub to life with recipes and instructions to make them from scratch. A shrub is a colonial-day drink whose name is derived from the Arabic word 'sharab', to drink, according to the Slow Food Foundation's Ark of Taste. 'It is a concentrated syrup that is traditionally mixed with water to create a refreshing drink that is simultaneously tart and sweet. In the 19th century, the drink was often spiked with brandy or rum.'
The publisher WW Norton & Company has kindly shared a few recipes with greatfood readers to get you started. Follow the link to Amazon at the end of each recipe to buy the book (also available at Eason's and good bookshops).
Blueberry-Lavender Shrub 'I can usually smell lavender before I see it', says Michael Dietsch, the author of Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. ' The day I bought the lavender to develop this recipe was no exception. I was walking through the Union Square Greenmarket and caught a whiff. I looked around to find the stand that had herbs, and then finally located the lavender on a back table. Though the herb is pungent, it still complements the blueberries without being overwhelming.'
Cranberry Sauce Shrub 'When my wife and I were planning our Thanksgiving dinner, we were talking about whether we wanted a traditional cranberry sauce. As we kicked around some ideas, it dawned on me that a shrub inspired by cranberry sauce would make a tasty beverage to drink before Thanksgiving dinner', says Michael Dietsch. He shares the recipe in his book Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times.
'Figs and cinnamon: Doesn't that just call out "fall's here!" to you', exclaims Michael Dietsch in his book 'Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times'. His recipe for Fig and Cinnamon Shrub is perfect for the cold season.