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A tart and sweet raspberry shrub adds complexity and zing to this easy and elegant cocktail.
Vegas Baby! Every time I think of Vegas I think of one of my favorite scenes from the movie Swingers. Man, Vince Vaughn can deliver a line like no other. And just hearing it makes me want to throw some clothes (and a wad of cash) into a bag and head west.
Vegas has transformed over the years and it has evolved into culinary dream. I could easily spend a week there eating, sipping, and cavorting without slipping a single coin into a slot. The food is top notch and the cocktails and mixologists unparalleled. So it should come as no surprise that Vegas plays host to the largest consumer-focused cocktail celebration, with over 1500 mixology enthusiasts in attendance from across the nation. For the Love of Cocktails is a 72-hour fundraiser that supports the Helen David Bartender Relief Fund, a charity which honors the memory of the beloved Port Huron, Michigan bar owner and community leader who passed from breast cancer.
This cause is near and dear to my heart as breast cancer has effected my family deeply. Like so many of us that have watched our loved ones suffer with this disease, it is my hope that I will live to see the day when we find a cure. Until then, awareness about early detection and prevention are paramount. And if you can raise money and awareness while enjoying delicious cocktails, well that sounds like a win/win to me.
I won’t be attending the event in May (booooo) but I’ll be there in spirit sipping this fabulous raspberry shrub that I’ve crafted today. No, no I am definitely not referring to the leafy green bush outside your door, I’m talking about a cocktail shrub (much more palatable wouldn’t you agree?).
If you’re not shrub savvy, I’ll give you the five cent history lesson. Shurbs were initially concocted many years ago as a way to preserve fruit before it spoiled. It’s part fruit, part sugar and part vinegar. The fruit and sugar are mixed, then the fruit is left to macerate (ideally overnight). The next day the solids are strained and discarded and the remaining juice is then blended with vinegar. The shrub can be used right away, but it’s even better after a day or two and the flavor really develops. Shrubs have a sweet and tangy bite that adds complexity and tremendous flavor to cocktails or makes a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage when stirred into club soda.
I used raspberries, turbinado sugar (you can use regular granulated) and a combination of vinegars today, but the method is the same no matter what fruit/sugar/vinegar you use as your base. I’m going for peach/white balsamic or strawberries/sherry vinegar next. Our frig is about to be filled with all of my favorite potions and concoctions just in time for warm spring happy hours. Don’t you wish you lived next door?
Well if you can’t be shrub sampling with me at 5pm on a Friday, maybe you’ll head to Vegas (baby) to support the Helen David Bartender Relief Fund and sample tons of tasty libations with other like-minded like-tastebudded patrons. Be sure to check here for the best flights and packages. Cheers to cocktails with a cause!
- Raspberry Shrub Cocktail
- 2 oz raspberry shrub
- 1 oz orange flavored liqueur Cointreau
- 4 oz vodka
- 4 oz club soda
- *lime rounds for garnish
- **special equipment: cocktail shaker
- Raspberry Shrub
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup white wine vinegar
Raspberry Shrub: Combine the raspberries and the sugar in a small bowl. Mash well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Add the vinegar and stir well. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl, pressing on the solids. Discard the solids.
Pour the shrub into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator.
To make the cocktails: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the shrub, orange liqueur and vodka. Shake well and strain into a stemmed flute or martini glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel.
*For a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, add a splash of the raspberry shrub to club soda and serve over ice.