Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This old fashioned drink is surprising refreshing and inexpensive

Several years ago we made a visit to the City Tavern in Philadelphia. We were hungry for lunch and it looked like a fun place to eat. I am so glad we stopped. The food was amazing and I snagged one of my favorite cookbooks while there.

While there, we were introduced to the raspberry "shrub" or "acid", an old fashioned drink that tastes like a Shirley Temple. The shrub syrup was very expensive at the Tavern, so I did a little research when I got home and found out it was ridiculously easy to make.

These delicious drinks were the precursors to carbonated drinks and were enjoyed in the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. White House guests also enjoyed this beverage on the White House lawn during the summer.

It's vinegar, raspberries and sugar. I know what you are thinking... vinegar in a drink... Gross. The vinegar really gives this drink a tart bite. It is surprisingly delicious, refreshing, and decaffeinated.

Here is a simple recipe that I've used since that time:

a handful of mashed raspberries
1 cup of white vinegar
1 cup of raw sugar
Ginger ale

Soak mashed raspberries in the vinegar for four days in a corning ware with a lid or other glass container with a lid.

Strain the juice through a strainer or cheesecloth into a pot. Add the sugar. Stir while you bring the mixture to a boil to ensure the sugar doesn't burn. Once the sugar is incorporated, you can stop stirring. Boil for 10 minutes to make a thin syrup. Let it cool and put into a mason jar or other glass container with a lid in your fridge.

To serve:
Add 1 large spoonful to a glass of 1/2 water and 1/2 ginger ale (you can also just use the water and leave out the ginger ale). Add crushed ice. Taste and add more syrup if you like it stronger. Sip the drink that founding fathers and presidents have enjoyed.

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