Before refrigeration, shrubs were a popular way to preserve fruit. Mixed with cold water, they’re very refreshing, but they also work brilliantly in cocktails. These quantities make 350ml shrub (about 14 servings), but it will keep in the fridge for at least three months. The drink is named after a character Bernie Sanders played in the low-budget 1999 film My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception.
For the shrub
100ml grapes – use sharp, sour ones (or plums or apples)
100ml caster sugar
100ml cider vinegar
For the cocktail
50ml white rum (a spiced one adds flavour and depth)
Soda water, to top
1 grape, halved (or 1 slice apple or plum), to garnish
For the shrub, wash the grapes, cut them in half and put in a very clean tub. Pour over the the sugar, seal and leave to steep for two days. Strain the resulting syrup into a clean bowl, whisk in the vinegar, then pour through a funnel into a sterilised bottle and seal.
Shake well, then refrigerate, checking on the shrub and shaking now and then. (Don’t worry if any solids settle at the bottom of the bottle: it’s just the sugar crystals reforming, and they’ll eventually be dissolved by the acid in the mixture.)
To make the cocktail, combine the rum and shrub in a tumbler, top with soda, garnish and serve.