Shrub Syrup Update!

Ok, so remember the Sweet Cherry Balsamic Shrub Syrup I made a couple of weeks back? Well, I’ve given it a little over two weeks to mellow out in the fridge and finally decided to give it a try last night.

Upon opening the jar I noticed that all the sugar did indeed get eaten up by the vinegar. That was a good sign. I took a sniff, and it smelt of sweet balsamic vinegar. Another good sign. So I proceeded to make a shrub cocktail—a jigger of vodka and 3 Tbsp of shrub syrup with some ice, topped off with fizzy seltzer.

Now, I could lie to you and tell you it was the best cocktail I’ve ever had in my entire life, but I don’t want to be that kind of person. In my opinion, the syrup was still really vinegary. I felt like I was drinking sparkling balsamic vinegar in a glass. I didn’t find it refreshing in the least. I took two sips, decided it just wasn’t for me, and down the drain it went. It was not a Martha moment.

I was so disappointed, but perhaps shrub syrups are just not my speed. So instead of sitting around with a sad face and nothing to drink, I made myself a mojito. It was much more refreshing and made the failure much easier to deal with.

I sat, sipping my cocktail, trying to think of what I could have done wrong. Maybe it was the use of cherries? Or perhaps using balsamic was too adventurous and I should have stuck with cider vinegar? Alas, the deed was already done, and I was about to throw out my now-wasted shrub syrup. But then it came to me—balsamic cherry reduction.  I can reduce the mixture down until it becomes a smooth, caramel-like syrup. It’ll be perfect on grilled vegetables or a salad, and my failure instantly became a success. I hope.

For those of you that went on this journey with me, I thank you. If you too are disappointed with your shrub syrup, I am sorry. But now you have another fun project that will hopefully end on a much more successful note. You can thank me later.

PS. Don’t hate me.

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5 Responses to “Shrub Syrup Update!”


  1. 1 knitplaywithfire August 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I like your idea of turning it into a reduction. And maybe try it again but with cider vinegar. Balsamic is sweet to start with so that may have been the problem. You only know if you give it another try,

  2. 2 Meg August 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry the shrub syrup wasn’t to your liking. I know at first the shrub can taste VERY vinegary. Maybe give it another few weeks and see how it’s tasting. I made mine middle of July and a month later it’s tasting sweeter and less vinegary.

    Also, for my taste, the syrup is just something to slightly flavor whatever I’m adding to it. For a drink in a pint jar (we use old pint jars at our house), I probably only add a teaspoon of syrup to a glass of sparkling water and ice – a little goes a long way.

  3. 3 Chelsea August 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I made a shrub with Georgia peaches and apple cider vinegar. I actually really like vinegar-y stuff, but my shrub smelled like old socks and tasted too much like ketchup even when I really diluted it. I think I may try another shrub next spring with a berry vinegar and fresh berries.

    I am really glad you posted this though – I thought I was the only one!

  4. 4 anno August 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Your experience with the cherry shrub mirrors my own, although I’m thinking the problem lies with the cherries. Made a great shrub with strawberries and cider vinegar earlier in the year that pleased everyone around here…


  1. 1 Sweet Cherry Balsamic Shrub Syrup « Handjobs (For the Home) Trackback on August 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

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