Cooking with vinegar? Sure, that makes sense. Cleaning with vinegar? Okay, I still follow you. Drinking vinegar? Whoa, now you’ve lost me. If this is what goes through your mind when you are told there are sipping beverages made from vinegar, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Welcome to the world of shrubs. Shrubs are beverages made with distilled vinegar, cane sugar and preserved fruit. Dating back to the 15th century these unique drinks are rumored to have originated on the ships of pirates and sailors.
Several places around the Pacific Northwest serve up shrubs and other fruit preserves so you too can unleash your inner pirate. Check out some of our picks below.
Lola’s Fruit Shrubs || Springfield, OR
When you move to a new place you can find yourself missing the comforts of home. That’s exactly what happened to Lola’s Fruit Shrubs owner Molly Rogers when she relocated from Texas to Oregon. Rogers’ grandmother used to concoct peach-flavored shrubs back home in Austin. Missing the unique taste of the sweet and sour alcoholic beverage, she decided to embark on a mixology adventure of her own in Oregon. By harvesting Oregon’s delectable berries and combining them with vinegar, she creates shrubs in the traditional method. Lola’s Fruit Shrubs craft Raspberry Lemon, Blueberry Ginger, Blackberry Basil and other refreshing beverages.
The Shrubbery || Seattle, WA
Local, a word that is closely associated with most producers in the Northwest’s rampant alcoholic beverage industry. This word’s close association is no different when it comes to shrubs. Seattle-based shrub producer The Shrubbery makes sure to only mix shrubs from fruit that is in season. Taking these local finds and combining them with pure sugar cane and apple cider vinegar makes for The Shrubbery’s one-of-a-kind drinks. Refreshing, light, pleasant and tasty are just a few buzz words to describe the drinks you get here. The newest addition to the menu is a Rhubarb shrub – the liquid is a captivating pink hue and there is only a limited supply of it. The Shrubbery’s drinks can be purchased online and at select locations in the Seattle area.
Sage & Sea Farms || Portland, OR
As with most in the shrub industry, it seems that the art of crafting shrubs is a family affair, a rare gift passed down from generation to generation. The story behind Sage & Sea Farms is no different. Building on decades upon decades of family shrub recipes, Sage & Sea Farms gives us a good reason to drink vinegar. Why? Well, because simply put, it’s delicious! The Boysenberry and Apple Ginger shrubs are just a few highlights among 19 different kinds of shrubs each exhibiting extremely flavorful fruit tones.
RAFT Botanicals || Portland, OR
RAFT from Portland approaches the shrub game in a bit of a different way. The company doesn’t offer shrub drinks, but it sells botanical syrups used to flavor and enhance your cocktails. The Lemon Ginger, Hibiscus Lavender and Smoked Tea Vanilla flavors they produce create a diverse collection of syrups. Over at RAFT they take it one step further to help you on your path to cocktail success. The website is full of comprehensive recipe guides. Each recipe is broken into a category of syrup; you can navigate to find recipes that best fit the specific syrup you purchased.
Republic of Jam || Carlton, OR
A true one-stop shop for your entire shrub needs: syrups, tinctures, cocktail mixers, cocktail rim salts and of course jam. Republic of Jam does it all when it comes to the world of fruit preservation. The staff at Republic of Jam guarantees that all of their products use half the percentage of sugar traditional recipes use; they opt to focus on the fruit instead. All products are vegan-friendly and are sourced directly from local farms and orchards across the Pacific Northwest. Try the Whipper Snapper if you want to experience a nice variation of the Manhattan cocktail. Whiskey, whiskey barrel bitters and Republic of Jam’s Pomegranate Anise Syrup form a drink you’ll surely never forget.