Friday, July 11, 2014

Raspberries Revisited and Renamed

In 2012, when I began the blog, one of the first shrubs that made its way on here was a raspberry number, I named Pink Flag, after the album by seminal post-punk band Wire. At the time, I thought this was a great idea, but in retrospect, it seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Originally, the original raspberry shrub was supposed to have lemon verbena and black peppercorn in it, neither of which really came out in the shrub at all. As time went along, I started to have two versions of a lot of the fruit based shrubs, one that was basically just for the fruit alone, and one that was a little more experimental with different spices, herbs, or vinegars, or in some cases, a combination of any of those things.

I came to the conclusion recently that I am going to try to revisit some of the spirit of that very first shrub that didn't work out, but rather than using the very potent and unmistakeable black Tellicherry peppercorn, I will give the fruitier, more delicate pink peppercorn a shot in its stead. It seems like a no-brainer to me to reappropriate the Pink Flag moniker for this new raspberry pink peppercorn concoction.

I'll hopefully be doing that one and sharing the results soon, but that left me with a bit of a naming conundrum; what shall I name the plain raspberry one since Pink Flag is out of the running?

I have some ideas, but I would love to hear from you, the readers. Take a look at the picture of the finished shrub below and let me know what you think it should be called in the comments. I'll look at the suggestions and make a decision next week.

Extra points for interesting references and/or puns.

While we're waiting for a name, I think this is a good time to share the updated recipe for whatever this raspberry shrub will be called as it has changed a little bit from the last time I posted a recipe for it.

For Shrub:
16 oz raspberries
12-13 oz white sugar
16 oz white wine vinegar
Large, sealable non-reactive container
Muddler, blender, or immersion blender
Sealable glass bottles with non-reactive lids
Metal Mesh Strainers of decreasing fineness
Funnel, preferably a canning funnel
Large Measuring cup
Making Raspberry Shrub:
In a large, sealable non-reactive container such as a bale jar, place 16 oz raspberries. Cover with 12-13 ounces of white sugar and muddle raspberries and sugar until a thick syrup forms. Close container and place in refrigerator for 3-6 hours.
Alternatively, you may blend 16 oz of raspberries and 12-13 ounces of sugar with an immersion blender in an immersion blender safe container, or in a standard blender, pouring the sugar and raspberry mixture into your non-reactive container. Refrigerate for 3-6 hours.
After 3-6 hours have passed, open container and add vinegar. Shake or agitate vigorously until combined. Close jar and add to refrigerator once again.
Hold in refrigerator for one week, agitating occasionally.
After one week's time, remove the container from the refrigerator and place strainers over measuring cup. Carefully pour contents of the jar into the strainers, pushing on solids to express as much liquid from the mash as possible. Set aside strainers.
Place funnel in glass bottle. If using a tea strainer, place inside the funnel. Slowly pour shrub from measuring cup through tea strainer, pausing to scrape the bottom or rinse the tea strainer if the pectin causes it to become blocked.
Continue, leaving a small amount of space in the neck of the bottle and close bottle.
Place in refrigerator for one more week.
Shrub should stay good for at least a year, but likely longer when refrigerated.


Muse of Doom said...

How about calling it the Bronx Cheer shrub? A bit sour, a bit silly and sweet.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a clever name for your beautiful shrub but I'm wondering if you've ever made tog shrubs? I'm making shrub for the first time with figs a handful of Thai bail with one part balsamic vinegar to two parts apple cider vinegar. The macerated fruit tastes divine. Just added the vinegar this morning. Now all I need is some ideas on using it later on.

Anonymous said...

"Fig" not "tog." My phone is my internet, and I don't always catch the auto correct choices. : P

Anywho, I forgot to sign my name as well.


Alexander Kern said...


Hello and thanks for coming to the site!

I once tried to do a fig shrub, but I think they may have been overripe and I had to pull the plug on that one.

Were you thinking more in the realm of cocktails to make or food items? Most of my balsamic based shrubs do very well over ice cream, and I think yours could do well in that regard.

I like to sometimes add soda to the shrub and then plop ice cream in it to make a float. Some flavors make good milkshakes, but I find the balsamic ones are not quite as good for that purpose.

For cocktails, I think a balsamic shrub can definitely stand up to a whiskey of some kind, but I'm not sure how the Thai basil would play in that. Alternatively, you could go for a mellower less piney gin or vodka.

If you have a direction you'd like to go in, I would be happy to offer more suggestions.

Hope you'll return later this week, there should be some new posts soon!

Laurie said...

I'm completely new to the whole shrub thing. I like your suggestions and I will try some of them. I'm mostly interested in the health benefits of raw vinegar with the mother and thought a drinking vinegar would be more palatable and interesting. However, I'm certainly not opposed to a cocktail once in a while. I made a plum mint shrub which is pretty tasty in ginger ale.

The fig shrub is a little strong as you commented with the balsamic vinegar, but not bad. I'll keep experimenting.

I put a couple of tablespoons of the plum shrub in my water bottle along with a little honey, it was not bad. My co workers think I'm totally off the wall because I bring weird concoctions in my water bottle, as well as other weird things I make.

Enjoying your posts!


Alexander Kern said...

Thanks! I am pretty lucky in that I have converted a lot of people in my office to shrub, and now I do full on shrub tastings for a large group of my co-workers, and they all seem to enjoy it quite a bit!

I am so glad you're enjoying the site, and I hope that you continue to stay tuned for all of the interesting things I have in store for the readers.

Kake said...

Hello! I'm planning to make this shrub, but it occurs to me that I'm not sure if you're using volume or weight measurements. Could you clarify, please? Thanks!

Alexander Kern said...

Kake-Welcome and thanks for coming by.

You raise an excellent point about weight vs. volume. I do everything in actual weights in regard to the making of the shrub, but I do use volumes in the cocktails.

I'll make an addendum on those shrub recipe posts.

I hope this turns out well, and I would love to hear how it goes!

Kake said...

Thank you! I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm probably making it this weekend.

Alexander Kern said...

Very cool. If you have any questions about any other process stuff, please don't hesitate to drop me a line, I love shrub and I love to help if I can.

Thanks again for reading!

Kake said...

I realise I never reported back about this! I made the raspberry shrub according to your recipe, and tried a taste about three weeks after bottling it. I think I would have preferred a stronger raspberry flavour, but that was likely due to my raspberries being less than great.

I did have trouble getting it clear. I strained it through a home-made nut milk bag (sewn from a net curtain offcut) but there was a fair bit of residue, and this didn't sink down but remained suspended, so I couldn't clear it via racking (as I did for the nectarine one I initially tried).

I'll be serving the raspberry shrub with soda water at a non-alcoholic cocktail party I'm throwing in two weeks' time, and will let you know what people think. My next shrub experiment will be your Elizabeth Revisited.

Alexander Kern said...


Hello again.

Thanks for reporting back. I was thinking about the suspension problem, and I wanted to give you a couple of observations from my own experiences.

I think sometimes the pectin in soft berries can cause the straining apparatus to get really gummy. It's as though you have some kind of jam or marmalade stuck in your filter. I generally try to strain through a couple of metal filters first, and then agitate the mixture before straining again through a fine mesh tea strainer.

As far as it goes, unless you use an emulsifier, such as xanthan gum, most shrubs made with fruit will separate and you'll need to shake them vigorously before serving as they don't like to naturally hold in suspension.

I hope your party is a smashing success and that people enjoy the shrub.

If you have any questions or I can be of any more help, I'm always happy to lend a hand.


Kake said...

Oh, I didn't have a problem with things being stuck in the filter — I got most of the solids out with a sieve before I used the fabric strainer, and a bit of stirring stopped that getting clogged.

I was actually trying to end up with a shrub with no solids at all (whether sunk to the bottom or held in suspension), but perhaps that's not how it's meant to work? Have I been aiming for an unrealistic level of clarity?

Alexander Kern said...


Sorry, I should have clarified(no pun intended) that I don't know that one can get that level of clarity in a shrub, owing to the natural pectins and such from the fruit wanting to naturally separate.

There might be mechanical means, such as a centrifuge to make this work, but that may be one of the only ways I can think of.

I do wonder if one could use something like the agar method to clarify like some people do with juices, but I'll have to look into that.

Kake said...

Ah, got it, thanks!

I actually got my nectarine shrub fairly clear by means of racking (wait for the solids to settle, pour off the clear part). You do lose some of the product that way though.