Shrub Cocktail 101 and a spin on the Vodka Cran

The Christmas in Seattle show was an amazing and exhausting experience for me.  So many wonderful people, and it was so amazing to talk with all of you.  But one question kept popping up – How do you use these?

If you’re not already exploring cocktails, beyond something simple like a gin and tonic, shrubs can seem intimidating.  I think the best way to demystify them is by remembering a good cocktail has 4 pillars: sweet, sour, bitter and booze.  The a fore mentioned G&T has all of these pillars.  Sweet and bitter are both contained in the tonic water which has both quinine, a bittering agent, and a sweetener of some kind.  The sour is provided by the citrus, lime or lemon depending on personal and regional preferences, and it’s got a measure of gin as the booze.

Following this, shrubs take the place of the sweet and the sour for a cocktail.  For a 6 ounce indulgence, with ice, you probably don’t need more than 3/4 ounce of shrub.  Add to that, up to 2 ounces of booze.  You can use all one booze, or a combination of a hard alcohol like vodka and a liqueur like St. Germain.  A few dashes of bitters, stir, and you’re most of the way to happy hour.  I like to finish these with a float of soda water, but that’s because I like bubbles.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

Vodka Cran, Shrubbery Style

3/4 ounce Cranberry Spice shrub (this is sweet, sour, and bitter all in one tasty package)
2 Ounces Vodka
Ice
Soda Water or Sparkling Wine

Combine the shrub and Vodka in a 6-8 ounce glass, stirring to mix thoroughly. Add ice to fill the glass and top off with Soda Water or Sparkling Wine.

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