DIY Drinking Vinegars

In an earlier blog we discussed why the Oregon Trail Pioneers would take vinegar with them.  Another use for vinegar is a refreshing summer drink. Commonly called Shrub.

Shrub like apple cider vinegar has a long and rich history. The word "shrub" is derived from the Arabic sharbah which means "a drink". Somehow throughout history, "shrub" became the name of a vinegar-and-fruit drink that's as refreshing as it is healthy.  

Some people refer to these beverages as drinking vinegar.  Although drinking vinegar isn't so common today, they have a long history stretching back to the Babylonians (who added date vinegar to water to help make it safe to drink),and the Romans (who mixed vinegar and water to make a beverage called posca). 

Colonial era sailors carried shrubs rich with Vitamin C, aboard their boats to prevent scurvy.  Pioneers would have made shrubs out of fresh berries found along the trail to enrich their diets with Vitamin C as well.  

To make a modern day shrub or drinking vinegar add the following ingredients to a large mason jar or carafe:

4 cups water or sparkling water

4 Tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

1 teaspoon minced ginger

4 tablespoons maple syrup (or a little stevia for a sugarless option)

Blend the  following ingredients and add to the mixture:

1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen berries, peaches, mango-anything you like) 

A handful of fresh mint leaves

Mix well, add ice if you wish and enjoy! Here are some other fresh flavor ideas:

  • Blackberry and fresh thyme
  • Cucumber and mint
  • Plum and vanilla bean
  • Strawberry and basil
  • Pear, cardamom and ginger.

Happy Trails!