Cocktail or mocktail, this nectarine and ginger shrub has it all

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The fruits ooze a natural sweetness during their peak growing season. Summer fruits like different kinds of berries, stone fruits, and melons are best used to make easy desserts like galettes, crumbles, jams, and fruity elixirs, like shrubs.

What are shrubs? Shrubs are syrups made from fruit, sugar and vinegar that originated in 17th century England as a method of preservation.

My mum learned how to make shrubs as part of her home economics class in Mumbai in the early 1970s. She also learned how to make all sorts of fun western dishes, including ketchup, soufflés, cakes, cookies and cookies. This sparked my interest in fusion foods, especially East-West food and drink combinations.

There are two ways to make shrubs: a cold one and a hot one. I prefer the cold method, and although it takes about three days to do it this way, it produces a shrub with deep fruit flavor and vibrant color.

The fruits are macerated in sugar for a few hours, then mixed with apple cider vinegar (you can also use white or red wine vinegar). To extract maximum flavor, the blend is chilled for up to three days before being filtered, bottled and stored in the fridge.

Adding herbs or spices to the fruit enhances the flavor and depth of the shrub. And the best part is experimenting with different flavor combinations, like apricot and saffron, which adds a nice floral touch, or this recipe, which combines nectarines, ginger and cinnamon. Ginger and cinnamon bring warm notes to the otherwise sweet and vibrant nectarines.

At this time of year, I make shrubs from a variety of fruits available at the farmers market. I keep them in the fridge to use anytime of the day as a pick-me-up; sour vinegar is beneficial for the gut biome. I like to serve them with sparkling water or club soda, but they’re also delicious in mocktails or cocktails, like this Nectarine Smash.

Amisha Gurbani is a Bay Area food writer, author of “Mumbai Modern” and blogger behind the Jam Lab, @thejamlab. Email [email protected]

Nectarine, Cinnamon & Ginger Shrub

Makes about 1½ cups

This tasty and refreshing shrub is composed of ripe yellow nectarines. Cinnamon and ginger add warm notes, making it perfect for balmy summer nights. Start this shrub two to three days before using it.

1 cup yellow nectarines, cut into small pieces (about 2 small yellow nectarines)

1 cinnamon stick, roughly broken into pieces

Fresh ginger, 2 inch piece, grated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions: In a large bowl, combine the nectarines and their juices, cinnamon, ginger and granulated sugar. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a cool place in the kitchen for 2 hours. After 2 hours, using the spatula, mix the sugars and fruits again. Leave to infuse for another 2 hours and stir the mixture. The sugar should be completely dissolved.

Add the apple cider vinegar to the mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for about 2 days to allow the flavors to meld.

Using a medium sieve over a medium bowl, strain all the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press down on the fruit to release as much juice as possible. Discard the solids.

Using a funnel, transfer to a container. Store in the fridge for up to a month.

Nectarine Shrub Gin Smash

Makes 2 drinks

½ yellow nectarine, cut into small pieces

6 mint leaves

4 ounces of gin

2 ounces Nectarine Cinnamon Ginger Bushes (see recipe)

1 ounce lemon juice

Ice

Iced sparkling water or club soda

Crushed ice

Thinly sliced ​​yellow nectarine, for garnish

Mint leaves, for garnish

Instructions: Prepare 2 half-filled glasses with crushed ice.

In a shaker, add the chopped nectarine, mint and gin. Crush with a pestle. Add the shrub, lemon juice and ice. Shake the shaker for about 20-30 seconds.

Using a cocktail strainer, pour the cocktail into the glasses. Top up with club soda. Garnish with slices of nectarine and mint.

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