The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday was Sours, which may be the largest cocktail category. MxMo challenges are a good opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, so I decided not to use citrus as my source of acidity. Instead, I experimented by making my first shrub.
A shrub is a drinking vinegar made by mixing fruit with vinegar and sugar. I find this especially appealing because I am a vinegar fiend – after eating a salad, I like to drink every last bit of vinaigrette from my plate (no, I don’t do this in fine dining establishments, only in the comfort of my own home). I like vinegar so much I even own a vinegar (and beer) shampoo (which I don’t drink, although it is very tempting).
I’ve been making a lot of calvados + scotch drinks these past few months and wanted to use this as my base. Calvados is distilled from apples sometimes mixed with pears, so I went with a pear shrub. To make the shrub, I mixed equal parts mashed Bosc pear, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. I let the mixture steep in the fridge for a week before filtering out the pear. I used egg white in the cocktail to temper the shrub somewhat.
My first version of the cocktail was too vinegar-forward and the acidity masked the scotch almost completely. I corrected the course by adding simple syrup, and a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s to round up the flavors. The resulting version was much more harmonious and had a brightness evocative of pear eau de vie in the finish.