Shrub Lyfe // Travis Baker // Coin-Op Sacramento

shrub old fashioned cocktail recipe

Juicy and boozy, this spin off of an Old Fashioned is right up our alley! // Recipe by contributor Travis Baker @travbo530 (instagram).

Shrub Lyfe
1.5 oz Rittenhouse Rye
.5 oz Kiwi Lime Mandarin Shrub
.25 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes 5×5 Aged Citrus Bitters

Build in an old fashioned glass with a big ass ice cube and stir. Garnish with expressed orange peel and enjoy!

This boozy little gem is dangerously quaffable, considering the kind of octane we have going on in here. Rittenhouse is a dry, spicy, bonded rye. The fact that it’s dry and spicy isn’t super special (it’s made from rye… that’s what it’s supposed to be), its the fact that it’s bonded. Bonded is short for “bottled in bond”, which is Industry-speak for 100 proof. There are some other stipulations that go along with that, but we all know what we came here for… it’s all about that ABV. Anyway, the dryness of Rittenhouse means you get all sorts of flavor from the shrub and the rad bitters from Five by Five. More on Five by Five in a minute, in the mean time… let’s talk shrub (side note: that is not a phrase we would ever have expected to say, but it’s out now, and we own it.).

Shrub is an Anglicized version of the Arabic word ’sharab’, which means (not coincidentally), “to drink”. It’s a crazy concoction of vinegar and sugar and a little somethin’ somethin’ to add more flava’. In our case, we made it with kiwis and lime and mandarins. Sorta. Technically, we made a lime oleo-saccharum (more on that later), and added that to our kiwi/mandarin pulp, which then went in to some white wine vinegar with a little more sugar and sat for a week or so.  Seriously.  It ain’t very hard.  We took six kiwis and quartered them, cut four mandarins into quarters, and added all that to the oleo-saccharum (still coming, keep yer shirt on), covered it, and forgot about it for a day.  After that, we strained what is now a fruit-laden syrup out, added our vinegar, capped it again, and forgot about it for another week.  After that, you have a delicious, flavor-packed ingredient.

Kiwi-Mandarin Shrub Step by Step knucklehead-proof instructions

You’re going to need the following:
6 kiwis quartered (No need to remove skins)
4 mandarins (also quartered)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar/oleo (We did approximately 50/50.  Mainly because we didn’t make enough oleo and got impatient.  It’s easy to make, but takes time.)
– Put the quartered kiwis and the mandarins in a wide mouth jar or a bowl or something of that nature.
– Add the sugar/oleo-saccharum
– Put a cover on your container and set it off to the side inside your fridge for a day.
– Take this delicious syrup and pour your white wine vinegar over it, straining out the solids.  You may have to pour the mixture over a fine strainer several times in order to get all the sugar through the strainer.  This is totally acceptable.
– You can discard the solids, or use them for something else.  What that may be is really up to you.
– Place your juicy syrup-vinegar combo in a container and seal.  We use large mason jars.  You are free to use whatever container your little heart desires.
– Forget about it for a week.
– Open it up and use it in drinks.  Shrub and club soda is amazing together.
– Thank us.

You will have a lot more shrub than you need for this cocktail.  We assume you are going to want to make a lot more than one drink.

One note before we get to oleo-saccharum (driving you crazy by now, isn’t it?)- use high quality vinegar.  It’s a major component of your shrub, so make sure you have Good Stuff.  If you want to elevate to super-nerd status, we recommend making your own.  It isn’t difficult and you will be able to hold your head high in any vinegar based conversation.  Which we assume happen all the time.

Alrighty- Oleo-saccharum (Latin for “oily sugar”. Crazy Latins).  In the book ‘Punch’ by the highly acclaimed cocktail historian, David Wondrich, he claims using lime is too bitter, but bitter is what we were shooting for, so to hell with Wondrich.  Just kidding David.  We’re huge fans.  Snapchat us sometime?  Ok, digression aside, here’s what you do- peel a bunch of citrus into long strips (again we used lime, but you can, and should, use any citrus), making sure you didn’t get any pith (nasty white stuff in between the rind and the fruit). Put all your peels in a bowl o’ sugar and muddle the heck out of them. The essential oils from the skin of the fruit will mix with the sugar making (wait for it)… Oily sugar!  ou’re going to want to let this sit for at LEAST an hour. We let ours sit overnight, but that’s just us. Overachievers.

Last but not certainly not least- Five by Five Aged Citrus Bitters are delicious, and to our knowledge, all natural. They make a few different flavors, including an amazing Barrel Aged Vanilla bitters, but for our purposes in this drink… Aged Citrus was the ticket. Well rounded and intricate.  It isn’t a heavy handed orange bitters, nor does it have that “artificial” taste that some other orange bitters on the market tend to have. It worked great with the shrub.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Tonya February 5, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    This sounds delicious!

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