My fellow cocktail bloggers have been working on shrubs and gastriques for a while now. I don’t know why I’ve held off until now. Lack of ambition, perhaps. But I came back from Tales with a drive to try it out, and I’ll credit that impetus entirely to the Cabana Shrub.
Cabana Cachaça (link, NSFW) was a sponsor at Tales, and more specifically, Cabana sponsored both the Tales blog and the blogger meetup party at Tales. At the meetup party, Cabana served up two drinks: a traditional caipirinha and the Cabana Shrub.
No bullshit here: I could not get enough of the Cabana Shrub. My memory’s a little hazy, but I think I remember that Chicago bartender Bridget Albert came up with this drink. (Edited to add: Danielle Sarna, who represents Cabana at Nike Communications, confirms my memory on this. Bridget Albert did create the Cabana Shrub.)
It’s fabulous–balanced and refreshing, with each ingredient present but not overweening. I could taste the cachaça, the fruit, and the tarty vinegar, but no single element predominated. I kept going back for more, to the point where I honestly lost count of how many I drank. In a long weekend with many fine drinks, this one was among my favorites.
Here’s the recipe that Tales provided:
- 1-1/2 oz. Cabana Cachaça
- 1 oz. Raspberry Shrub Syrup*
- 1/8 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. Fever Tree Premium Ginger Ale
- Sugar-cane stick, for garnish
Technique: Build in a short ice-filled glass. Top with ginger ale. Add garnish.
*Raspberry Shrub Syrup
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 pints fresh raspberries
- Splash of water
Technique: Bring ingredients to a boil. Stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a glass bottle.
When I tasted this drink, I had two reactions–Wow, this is good; and, Jen is going to love this.
By the time I got home, raspberry season had ended in our part of New England, but blueberries and gooseberries were going strong. So over the weekend I cooked up some shrub syrup, using champagne vinegar and a mix of gooseberries and raspberries. I tinkered a bit with the recipe, in part because I had no ginger ale/beer ready.
Modified Cabana Shrub
- 1-1/2 oz. Cabana
- 1 oz. Blueberry-Gooseberry Shrub Syrup (prepared in same proportions as Rasp. syrup above)
- 1/4 oz. lime juice
- 1/2 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
- 1 oz. soda water (mine, from my new seltzer bottle)
Technique: Build in a short ice filled glass. Garnish with nothing. (The printed recipe calls for sugar cane, but it wasn’t served that way at Tales, and how easy is it to find sugar cane sticks anyway?)