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Orange and Raspberry Shrub

orange shrub vs rapsberry shrub

The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
February 8, 1807

The word Shrub comes from the Arabic word sharab, which literally means “to drink” (it’s also the same word which gave us syrup and sherbert). The first mention of this word in the Oxford English Dictionary is in 1747 and its meaning (beyond that of the “woody plant or bush”) is “any of various acidulated beverages made from the juice of fruit, sugar, and other ingredients, often including alcohol.”

Both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic (using vinegar) versions of these drinks are refreshing on a hot summer day. Commonly made in an orange, lemon or berry flavor and bottled, they would last all season long in a time before refrigeration. The presence of the brandy or vinegar added a bit of a bite to this non-carbonated, early soft drink and helped to prevent it from spoiling in the warm weather.

Citrus Shrub

“Take two quarts of brandy, put it into a large bottle, and put into it the juice of five lemons, and the peels of two, and half a nutmeg; then stop it up and let it stand three days, after which add to it three pints of white wine; a pound and a half sugar; mix it, strain it twice through a filtering bag, and then bottle it up. This is a fine cordial.”
John Davies, The Innkeeper and Butler’s Guide, or, a Directory in the Making and Managing of British Wines, 1808

A Modern Version of Citrus Shrub (Alcoholic)

  • 1 pint Orange Juice
  • Zest and juice of three lemons
  • 2 Quarts Rum

Combine these ingredients in a gallon jar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for three days.

In a large saucepan, mix 4 Cups sugar with 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly to create a simple syrup. Add this syrup to the rum and juice mixture. Cover the jar and let the mixture stand at room temperature for two weeks. Strain the mixture and bottle.


Raspberry Shrub

A Raspberry Shrub Recipe (Non-Alcoholic)

(Martha Lloyd’s recipe for Raspberry Vinegar could also be adapted instead for a refreshing berry drink suitable for all ages)

  • 4 cups fresh Blackberries or Raspberries, about 16 ounces
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • cold water
  • ice

Place berries in a non-metal bowl or pitcher; add vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap or lid; refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Strain mixture into a saucepan, pressing blackberries to extract all liquid. Discard solids then stir in sugar. Boil 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar or pitcher. For each serving, combine 1/4 cup of the blackberry concentrate with 1 cup cold water; pour over ice in glasses.

Makes enough concentrate for about 12 servings.



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Raspberry Vinegar – A Recipe

raspberry vinegar

Raspberry Vinegar

The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
February 8, 1807

During the summer months cool, flavored drinks are all the rage. Things were no different during the Regency. All manner of syrups were invented, to be added to drinks for a variety of effects. Raspberry and other fruit flavors were popular. Orgeat, another flavoring, was made from almonds and oranges.

Raspberry Vinegar
Put two quarts of large fine Raspberries into one quart of the best Vinegarm let it stand two days near a fire, clarify a pd. of fine Sugar, strain off the juice form the Raspberries, add the clarified Syrop & boil all together till it is fine– When it is cold put into small Bottles & use it as you would Orgeat, mix with Water to your taste. –Mrs. Lefroy
From Martha Lloyd’s Household Book Continue reading Raspberry Vinegar – A Recipe