Pear and Hibiscus Shrub
The history of the shrub (drink) dates back several centuries and countries. The American version of the shrub can be traced back to the colonial times where vinegar was used in the preservation of fruits during off-seasons, due to the non-existence of refrigeration. After a night, or several days, the fruit would then be strained out and the remaining fruit-infused vinegar, sweetened (for ease of consumption). This sweet and tangy liquid or syrup could then be mixed with water or soda water for a fun and delicious soft drink, different from the norm. The colonials had it right when the shrub was used as a mixer in alcoholic beverages as well! When refrigeration was introduced into American households, the shrub concept faded into history. Fast forward to today, where modern craft cocktail bars and restaurants are regularly keeping a seasonal shrub on the menu for all to enjoy!
This Hibiscus Shrub is very versatile in many applications. You can serve it on ice with soda water for an old fashion soda. Or mix it with almost any liquor for a delicious cocktail.
Preparing the Shrub
- 4 small pears (green preferred)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup Champagne Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. dried hibiscus leaves (found at most Mexican markets)
- 1 star anise
- 8 allspice berries
What you’ll need:
- Large Pot
- Cheese Cloth
- Fine Mesh Colander
- Chop the pears leaving the skin and the core as we will puree it into small pieces later. Add the pears and the sugar to the pot. Make a sachet with the cheese cloth buy cutting a 5×5 square. Then add the hibiscus, allspice and anise. Pull the corners up to make a ball and tie with string, add to the pot. The sachet will steep all the fall spices into the syrup.
- Cover with a half-gallon of water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove sachet; then in small batches, puree in blender on high until smooth. Once the syrup is blended, pour through the fine mesh strainer. The end result should be smooth like fruit nectar.
- Allow it to cool and slowly whisk in the vinegar to taste. It should be sweet in the front and tart on the back. We like ours on the tart side so we use the full cup. This is the base of your syrup it should last you 6 weeks in the fridge.
Try it with Gin!
Mixing gin with the shrub creates a tasty cocktail and adds extra layers of herbs and spice to this fall spiced drink.
- 5 oz. Junipero Gin
- 5 oz. Pear and Hibiscus Shrub
- .5 oz. lime juice
- Soda water
- Dash of Peychaud Bitters
Add the top three ingredients over ice in a bucket glass. Top with soda water and stir. Add a dash of bitters on top. Garnish with lime zest. Enjoy!