Cranberry Shrub
Makes about 3 cups (0.75L)
Because shrub is vinegar-based, yup – that’s right, it has the flavor of vinegar in it. I like that biting tang, but it may or may not be to everyone’s taste. However it makes a nice base for a cocktail, or for a non-alcoholic alternative drink to pass around during the holidays. If you can get a good apple cider vinegar, perhaps from a local apple farm, use that. It’s more fruit-forward than the store-bought stuff. If you have another natural fruit vinegar, you could use that. If you don’t have either, white wine vinegar works instead.If you don’t have allspice berries, you can use a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, or another favorite spice. The cooked cranberries can be reserved and used to mix with apples or pears if you’re making a fruit crisp, or used as a replacement for some of the raisins (by weight or volume) in mincemeat or instant mincemeat. You could also be creative and turn it into cranberry sauce.
1 cup (250ml) water
2 1/4 cups (235g) fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
8 allspice berries, crushed, or another spice
1 cup (250ml) apple cider vinegar
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water, cranberries, sugar and allspice until the mixture starts to boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a very gentle simmer until the cranberries are completely soft, about 8 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and pass the cranberries through a mesh strainer, letting the liquid drain into a bowl. Press down on the cranberries to extract as much juice as possible from them without pressing too hard, as you don’t want to get any solids into the shrub. (You may want to reserve a few nice cranberries if you’d like to use them as a garnish before pressing them down.)
3. Add the vinegar to the cranberry syrup and transfer the shrub into a bottle or jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. The shrub mixture can be kept for several months in the refrigerator.
To make a Cranberry Shrub Cocktail, fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice. Add 3/4 ounces of shrub and 2 ounces of bourbon, along with 1 teaspoon maple syrup and three drops of a favorite cocktail bitters. Shake until well-chilled, then pour in a cold glass. Garnish with leftover cranberries skewed on a toothpick or a strip of orange zest. An option to jazz it up would be to add 1/2 ounce of orange-based liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, to the cocktail mix in the shaker.

To make a non-alcoholic cranberry shrub beverage, add 2 tablespoons of cranberry shrub to a tumbler. Fill three-quarters full with crushed ice, a slice of orange, and fill with sparkling water. To take it in another direction, you can add some Lillet to it.