Shrubs are homey drinking vinegars, tonics in the general sense of things consumed to invigorate. You can sip them straight, I suppose, though most people add fizzy water, or booze, or both. A friend of mine (Modern Farmer’s Jesse Hirsch, who used to live in San Francisco but now roams Hudson, New York) sent me this shrub a couple of weeks ago, a Pear Honey Ginger one from The Hudson Standard. It’s fantastic, sharp and sweet, with musky pear perfume and a peppery ginger burn. I mixed it 2-to-1 with bourbon and sipped over ice. Turned into a lovely afternoon.
Marianne Courville, who made this initial 185-bottle batch with Daniel Scarnecchia and Dave Paynter, sourced Bosc pears from a couple of Hudson Valley orchards, then macerated them in organic cider vinegar and sugar. (Courville and her husband, Michael Albin, own Hudson Wine Merchants; they’re calling their shrub and bitters line a cocktail collection.) The whole process takes a couple of weeks, and it’s seasonal, 100-percent dependent on when the fruit ripens, so it’s a slow launch for the Hudson Standard. Courville and her business partners are planning to launch a Kickstarter in May, to fund production of 5,000 bottles, a mix of shrubs and bitters. So until next summer, when Courville releases an early-season strawberry-rhubarb shrub, you’ll just have to trust me: This is a craft maker to bookmark.
Photo by Chris Rochelle