At Caboose Tavern, our Beverage Director and General Manager, Tim Wilson is a big fan of shrubs, and has incorporated shrub cocktails to our menu. Don’t know what a shrub is? If you haven’t heard by now, shrubs are the best. We are here to tell you all about them.
What is a Shrub?
(And no, we do not mean a small bush!) Shrub is a natural sweetener in the form of a syrup. Plus, an easy DIY project so you can impress all your friends! Shrubs are made of a combination of concentrated fruits, aromatics, sugar, and vinegar. You can then call upon your inner mixologist, and sweeten your alcoholic beverage with your creation… voila.
Benefits of a Shrub
Why do we have shrub cocktails at Caboose Tavern? Well shrubs are about as farm-to-table as it gets. All of our shrub cocktails are hand crafted, created in house, and made with with local ingredients. There is nothing artificial whatsoever about these drinks. Plus, our shrub cocktails are gluten free, organic, and low calorie.
Shrub is often referred to as a “Colonial Gatorade.” Why you ask? Well back in the olden days, shrubs were made to create sugar and electrolytes. Shrubs invigorate the body, so you can get back to work!
How to Make a Shrub
To create a shrub, first find a fruit you wish to use. At Caboose, we take two factors into consideration. We like to use local fruit, and fruit that is in season. Once you’ve selected and picked your fruit, you can begin. To naturally extract the juices from your fruit, you must macerate the fruit with sugar! The sugar will extract the liquid from the fruit, naturally pulling out the juicy liquids.
Let the fruit sit for 1-2 days, and you’ll end up with a good amount of liquid. Take what’s left of the fruit, chop it up, stir it around, and let it marinate in the fridge. Adding in a little bit of vinegar and herbs after extraction on the 3rd or 4th day allows the flavors to marry together! Then stir, and adjust as needed. You have yourself a shrub syrup!
You can then hand craft cocktails with this new flavoring agent. Now that you’ve created your shrub, you can hop on board the low ABV trend.
Shrubs at Caboose Brewing Company’s Caboose Tavern
Tim has lots of shrubs on the menu, and more ideas to come. Let’s take a moment to discuss our Smokey Pear Mezcal Margarita! This drink is made with a pear shrub, hand crafted by Tim Wilson. Our pears were hand picked from a local farm in the Fair Oaks area. Tim’s pears and kumquats were macerated with sugar and herbs and cured for three days, to draw out as much of the delicious pear juice as possible. Then vinegar was added and sat for two more days, to allow all flavors to marry. He strained out all of the leftover fruit, and voila.
Our margarita is made with mezcal and reposada tequila, triple sec, pear & kumquat, and topped with lime. Tim suggests pairing this margarita with our beloved brussels sprouts. This starter is a fan favorite at Caboose, known for its sweet chili flavors and topped with bonito.