Having just posted about making Vinegar Shrubs aka Drinking Vinegars, I had to make myself a cocktail from these wonderful syrups I had created. I had made plum, strawberry, blueberry, cranberry and watermelon shrubs, in that order, so I decided to start with the Plum Shrub Cocktail first!

Plum Perfect Shrub Cocktail

2 Oz. Vodka
2 Oz. Plum Shrub
Dash of Orange Bitters
Orange Twist
Pinch of Cinnamon

Chill your glass in the freezer.  Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then add the vodka, plum shrub syrup and the dash of orange bitters.  Shake until chilled than garnish with the orange twist - expressing the oils over the cocktail - and dust a pinch of cinnamon over the top.

That's it! Enjoy and read up on Drinking Vinegars and stay tuned for more Shrub Cocktails!

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Drinking Vinegars aka Shrubs are quite popular these days in craft cocktails. They're a great way to introduce an acidic element to a drink and have added health benefits that come with the use of vinegar.

Mind you, using vinegar in a libation is not a new concept. Back in colonial days vinegar shrubs, which are shelf stable at room temperature, were all the rage with colonists with a thirst and no refrigeration. Shrubs, used as a method to preserve fruits in Frigidaire free America, were consumed with and without alcohol by none other than George Washington, Ben Franklin and John Adams, who most likely added a bit of vinegar shrub to those nasty, impure rums of the day.

Using a simple method of combining fruits with sugar and vinegar, the tart and sweet shrubs, also called drinking vinegars, were a thirst quenching alternative to drinking brackish water and they mixed pretty well with the wines and ales of the day as well.

Vinegars not only preserve fruits, they help preserve water. Historically used on ships to purify the water stores, vinegar was also used as far back as ancient Rome and Greece for medicinal purposes. Drinking vinegars are good for you. 

A while back I experimented with using vinegar in cocktails in my Strawberry Balsamic Martini and made a few drinking vinegar syrups for mixing a quick mocktail for non-alcoholic drinkers, but, thanks to a gift of assorted Rice Wine Vinegars from Marukan, I recently got the shrub bug again.

Why are they called shrubs? I'm not all that sure but the word "shrub" is a variant of the word "shurb", which is from the Arabic word sharāb meaning "to drink". There is also the word sharbat, a Hindi word for drinks based on syrups made from fruit extracts. Shrubs are not confined to fruits either, you can make herbal shrubs and veggie shrubs. Imagine some kale or beets in a shrub!

There are several ways to make a shrub, including various hot and cold methods, but for your first go round use this simple recipe from Eric Felten's "How's Your Drink?" For mine I simply replaced the white wine vinegar with Marukan Rice Wine Vinegar which adds a bit more sweetness:

Strawberry Shrub Syrup
1/2 C. Sugar (I used regular cane sugar but feel free to experiment with turbinado or other fancy sugars.)
1/2 C. Water
2 C. Strawberries
1 C. Marukan Rice Wine Vinegar

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a sauce pan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Reduce your heat to simmer, add the strawberries and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the final syrup to resemble a cordial so reduce enough to stand up to the addition of the vinegar.
Add the vinegar, raise the heat and return to a boil for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, strain, and allow to cool then store in the refrigerator.
(As an aside, you might think about doing these outside on a grill burner as the last step wafts a good dose of vinegar smell about!)

I then repeated this recipe with blueberries, plums, dried cranberries, watermelon and blackberries. For the blackberry shrub I used brown sugar to get that molasses taste and used Marukan's Sweet & Tangy Rice Wine Vinegar just for a giggle. Whatever vinegar (rice wine, apple cider, white, balsamic, champagne), sugar, produce, you use keep in mind the wine edict, "if you wouldn't eat it or drink it, don't cook with it" and use quality ingredients!

You can add herbs, even peppercorns and other natural flavor enhancers, to your shrubs, which I would add at the same time as the berries, but I chose not to do this (except with the watermelon to which I added some apple mint leaves*) so I could pick the herb I wanted at the time I mixed the cocktail or drink. I might be in the mood for basil one day or tarragon the next so why box myself in?

The advantage of vinegar shrubs is their shelf life, you can always have some fruit on hand to add to a cocktail no matter the time of year or your proximity to a fruit vendor. Additionally, shrubs are a perfect way to add balanced acidity and sweetness to a cocktail with one ingredient, kind of like customized sweet & sour mixes. Sure, you can buy shrubs too, thanks to their rising popularity many artisnal shrubs are popping up on the commercial market, but when they're this easy why not let your own culinary creativity off it's leash?

Basic Alcohol Shrub Cocktail:
1 -2 Oz. Shrub Mix/Syrup
2 Oz. Spirit
4 Oz. Club Soda or other sparkling non-alcoholic beverage. (I haven't tried sparkling wines here yet. That waits for another day.)
You can leave out the soda and drink this shrub as a cordial. Leave out the spirit too and you have yourself an old fashioned medicinal palliative.

Basic Non-Alcoholic Shrub Drink:
1 Oz. Shrub Mixture
3-4 Oz. Club Soda (Yes, you can use non carbonated waters ad well.)

BTW, I've discovered my shrubs are GREAT for salad dressings!

Try these Drinking Vinegar Cocktails:




True Blood Martini, a truly blood red cocktail for Halloween

October 2018 Update

When I originally created this cocktail I did so as a tribute to the last season of one of my favorite television shows at the time, True Blood. It was a fitting tribute, being a show with about vampires and the rich, dark red color of this gin, fresh cherry and pomegranate cocktail is very close to the color of fresh blood. This also makes it a perfect Halloween cocktail, especially if you are throwing a vampire themed cocktail party.

You can read the original post below the recipe, and check the True Blood series if you get a chance, it's far and above one of the best vampire series ever produced on television.


2 Oz. Gin
2 Oz. Pomegranate Juice
10 Fresh Cherries, Pitted
Juice of Half a Lime
2 Tsp. Sugar
Optional: 3 Dashes of Tru Blood (for your vampire guests)

Chill your glass in the freezer. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cherries, lime juice and sugar. Add 1 cup of ice, pour in the gin and pomegranate juice then shake until chilled. Strain into your chilled glass, add optional Tru Blood, garnish with a cherry and a few pomegranate seeds.

Original Post:

A Cocktail Farewell to Bon Temps

Laissez les bons temps rouler - let the good times (and the blood, sex and violence) roll.

The good times will roll again for one final season tonight for all the vampire lovers (Trubies) out there in Bon Temps and surrounding locals with this True Bloodtini and the season premiere of HBO's True Blood.

Though I came late to the party (being too penurious to shell out for premium channels), I got addicted visiting with friends, ponied up the dollars and now I mourn and will hungrily devour this last season to see what awaits those creatures of the night who have sucked me into their world.

To ease my withdrawal from Eric, Bon Temps and Sookie's coffin hopping, I created this True Blood cocktail. 

As it contains gin instead of hemoglobin, my True Bloodtini is a happy hour take on "Tru Blood", the invention that started this whole bloody mess. If my version had been served at Merlotte's and Fangtasia maybe less blood would have flowed and it might have kept all those blood suckers, assorted humans, fairies, shapeshifters and werewolves from allowing friends to drink friends' blood . . .

Settle back and enjoy the last season of Sookie, Eric, Bill, Lafayette, Sam and the rest of the Bon Temps crew.

Updated 10-2018


Happy National Martini Day 2014!

Happy National Martini Day
from The Martini Diva

Celebrate the King of Cocktails today with my favorite way to enjoy a Classic Gin Martini:

Read about The History of The Martini

Looking for a particular flavor or spirit in your cocktail? Just take your preferences into my search bar at the top right of this page!




Bourbon Cocktails and Facts

"All bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskeys are bourbon!"
Recipes and Facts for Better Bourbon Enjoyment

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey which is a barrel-aged, distilled spirit made from grains, primarily corn. To be labeled in the U.S. as "bourbon" a whiskey must be made from a "mash" using a minimum of 51% corn, distilled to a maximum of 160 proof, bottled at a minimum of 80 proof, barreled for aging at no more than 125 proof, must be aged in new, charred oak barrels (white oak preferred) for a minimum of two years and it cannot contain any additional coloring, flavoring or any other spirits.

Bourbon is the only liquor native to the United States, and, as of 2013, approximately 95% of all bourbon is produced in the state of Kentucky. Though bourbon can, and is, produced elsewhere in the U.S., it is Kentucky that boasts the iron-free water filtered through the high concentrations of limestone that many say imparts the signature taste of a true bourbon. Additionally, Kentucky has a long heritage and history linking it to the distillation and creation of bourbon.
In 1964 the U.S. Congress declared bourbon to be a "distinctive product of the United States" and only U.S. produced bourbon can be sold in the United States. Though something called "bourbon" can be made and sold in other countries, many U S. trade agreements with other countries require the name "bourbon" to be reserved for products made only in the United States.

Now that you know why not all whiskey is bourbon, let's get to drinking some! Below are some of my favorite ways (aside from a simple glass of two fingers over ice) to enjoy a good Kentucky Bourbon.


I also like adding a little bourbon to food, thanks to my Mom:

National Bourbon Day is June 14th and National Bourbon Heritage Month is September.

And, if you're an art lover, here's some of my
Bourbon Art & Gifts.
Just click the image to see all of the products available for business, home, entertaining and wearables:


"If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go" ~ Mark Twain.

Updated 2-2021



Happy National Cupcake Lovers Day

For your Happy Hour pleasure here are my:



Orange Is The New Black Cocktail!

The Ladies of Litchfield are back one last time.

The final season of Orange Is The New Black is out on Netflix and I'm ready for my prison girls fix with a refreshing summer cocktail all decked out in prison orange and bad girl black.

The Orange Is The New Black
 2-1/2 Oz. Light Rum
1-1/2 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1-1/2 Mint Simple Syrup
3 Oz. Pureed Cantaloupe
Black and Orange Sugars
Slice of Cantaloupe

Rim your glass with some of the simple syrup then dip one side in the orange sugar and the other in the black sugar. Chill your glass in the freezer.
Add the rum, lime juice, mint simple syrup, and pureed cantaloupe to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously.
Pour into your rimmed and chilled glass then garnish with the cantaloupe slice.

Enjoy with these last episodes of Orange Is The New Black!

Updated 7-2019

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