1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

History Shrubs, Have You Sipped One?

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by donna, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    The word shrub is derived from the Arabic word, "sarbah", which means a "drink". Sherbet and syrup also come from this root word. Although drinking vinegars is not so common today, they have a long history, stretching back to the Babylonians who added date vinegar to water to make it safe to drink and the Romans who mixed vinegar and water to make a beverage called "posco". Colonial-era sailors carried shrubs rich with vitamin C on their boats to prevent scurvy. Shrubs also gained popularity during the Temperance Movement and many 19th and early 20th century housekeeping manuals contained recipes for them.

    During Colonial times, shrubs were a very popular means of preserving fresh produce, usually berries, using vinegar or sometimes a spirit such as rum. Vinegar-based shrubs can provide a delicious and refreshing nonalcoholic drink option too. They can also be mixed with spirits and sparkling wine for alcoholic cocktails.

    For mixed drinks, shrub is the name of two different yet related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England. It was typically made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit. A shrub can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America's Colonial Era, made by mixing a vinegar syrup with spirits, water or carbonated water. The term "shrub" can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup from which the cocktail is made. The syrup is also known as "drinking vinegar". The drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.

    The American version of the shrub has its origin in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to Colonial America. By the 19th century ( post Civil War and during) typical American recipes for shrubs and vinegars poured over fruit and left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days, where popular. The fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup. The sweet-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.

    Shrubs were served during the Christmas season in the 19th century. They were mixed with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry, rum, and other spirits.

    The information on shrubs was from a program given on November 19, 2015 at meeting of National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, Ohio Division. I am now attending this group and hope to be able to submit my application to join in the near future. I am still in process of establishing my ancestors back to this date in history. They have guidelines on how to submit proof of lineage that must be followed. It is even harder than the DAR.
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Recipe for a Shrub:

    The basic recipe for making shrub syrups uses two cups of chopped fruit, one cup of sugar. Simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes. Up to a 1/2 cup of water can be added. Add one cup of vinegar and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, strain and seal syrup in a mason jar. Refrigerate up to 2 to 3 months.

    The elegance of a shrub comes with the vinegar choice and the spices added.

    The person presenting the program had several different shrubs to taste. They were different but quite refreshing.
     
  4. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Norwegian Raspberry Vinegar (Shrub) 1865

    "Take four pounds of raspberries, pour over them half a pint of vinegar, place in an earthen jar, cover it securely, so that no air can enter, and place it in a sunny window twelve hours; take it in at night, and place out again in the sun the next day for another twelve hours. Then place in a flannel bag, till the juice has run through without pressure. Then for every pound of juice take a pound of loaf sugar, and boil it for a quarter of an hour, or till no scum arises, then put it into small bottle, and well cork it."

    From: "Civil War Recipes Receipts from the Pages of Godey's Lady's Book".
     
  5. MaryDee

    MaryDee Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    2,328
    Location:
    Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
    I've read but never tried one. I will try to remedy this next spring/summer. Any recommendations on the vinegar?
     
  6. MaryDee

    MaryDee Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    2,328
    Location:
    Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
    Just spotted Lt. JH McDaniels' receipt in a separate thread--thanks for reposting it! Red or white wine vinegar sounds good! I might experiment with a bit less sugar!
     
    FarawayFriend likes this.
  7. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    For George Washington's Birthday, one could make a Cherry Shrub.

    1 quart ripe cherries
    1 quart water
    1 lb sugar
    juice of 1 lemon

    Stone cherries and mash through a colander. Boil water and sugar, add to cherries. Add lemon juice, stir well and chill. Serve partly frozen or with shaved ice.
     
  8. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Messages:
    7,333
    Location:
    Hannover, Germany
    How interesting! I have never heard of that, but sounds refreshing. I have learned something new today!
     
    donna likes this.
  9. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    13,729
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    Yes, but isn't Hemlock a shrub? :giggle: Someone may wish to clear that up.

    Had no idea about any of this, had only associated ' shrub ' with well, growing things, bushes people skulk in when up to no good, the plant mentioned above- in short, an unhappy kind of mention in movies and literature. Thank you for giving it a new spin!
     
  10. Anna Elizabeth Henry

    Anna Elizabeth Henry 2nd Lieutenant Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2015
    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    New York, New York
    And here I thought shrubs were things I had to trim in my garden! :tongue: Seriously though sounds like a nice and refreshing drink! Will have to give the cherry shrub a try for sure! Thanks for enlightening me Donna!
     
    donna likes this.
  11. MRB1863

    MRB1863 Captain Forum Host

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Messages:
    6,546
    Location:
    Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
    Interesting! Thanks for bringing this to us. I am not sure if I want to drink the broth of an unknown shrub, but some may be flavorful...stop by and join me in pruning the hedge...we'll have a nip.
     
    Anna Elizabeth Henry likes this.
  12. Anna Elizabeth Henry

    Anna Elizabeth Henry 2nd Lieutenant Silver Patron

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2015
    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    New York, New York
    Well my neighbors have a juniper bush...hmm...I think you make gin with those, right? :smoke:
     
    MRB1863 likes this.
  13. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Another great use of vinegar, Shrubs.
     
  14. nitrofd

    nitrofd Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    13,414
    Location:
    north central florida
    Interesting history lesson.
     
    donna likes this.
  15. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    23,860
    Location:
    Kentucky
    With the thread on Vinegar, thought bump this thread on shrubs.
     
    Anna Elizabeth Henry likes this.

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)