From Pear to Shrub – A Doe Bay recipe

In celebration of the autumnal equinox, Doe Bay’s bartender, Larry Arndt, is starting a pear and cardamom shrub. Making a shrub is an easy and fun process. We are blessed here at Doe Bay with a garden and property that has an abundance of things to make shrub from…..lilacs, blueberries, rhubarb, plums, pears, and a wide variety of fresh herbs and botanicals.

At the Doe Bay Café we use our house made shrub as a nonalcoholic beverage option but have also been known to add a little vodka or gin to make a lively fruit forward cocktail. 

In terms of mixed drinks, shrub is the name of two different, but related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England, typically made with rum or brandy and mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit. The word shrub can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term can also be applied to the base, a sweetened vinegar-based syrup from which the cocktail is made; that syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices, for use in mixed drinks. 

We start our shrub by making an oleo-saccharum. Don’t let the fancy words fool you, oleo for oil and saccharum for sugar. If you have ever sprinkled granulated sugar over strawberries and let it sit in the fridge overnight for strawberry shortcake you have made an oleo saccharum. The sugars draw out the natural oils and juices from the fruit making a delicious syrup.

How to make a pear and cardamom shrub

We are making a large batch for use in the Café but for at home you can make a smaller batch. 

We will start with 10 pounds of pears our gardener Lisa harvested from the stand of pear trees outside of the Cafe, 3 cups of granulated sugar, and a dozen lightly crushed cardamom pods.

Process the pears, removing the seeds and skin. We will use the skins, but the seeds can be disposed of. Slice up the pear and begin layering the sliced pear, reserved skin and sugar in an airtight container, sprinkling in a few crushed cardamom pods as you go.

Seal the container, put it into the refrigerator and let it rest and do its magic for 2 or 3 days, shaking the container once a day to get it all mixed up well and good. 

After a couple days of resting and soaking add 1 quart of water to the mix and shake it around a bit. Next we are going to strain the whole batch through a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth to remove any small bits of cardamom seed. 

After filtering you will be left with a delicious syrup. We simmer the syrup on low heat till it reduces by about 1 quarter. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. (The remaining pear can be crushed down and dehydrated into a tasty fruit leather.) 

After the pear and cardamom syrup has cooled down we are going to add a fine vinegar….this is a fun and creative part of the process. Which type of Vinegar do you use? Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Apple Cider, Balsamic? The choices are wide and varied. In this shrub I am going to use a nice apple cider vinegar. We mount the syrup with one quarter vinegar. For example, per 1 quart of syrup we add 8 ounces of vinegar. 

To serve our shrub we like to mix it with fresh citrus juices, ginger beers, and club soda.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add: 

2.5 oz Shrub 

.5 oz lemon juice 

.5 oz lime juice 

Shake! Shake! Shake! Strain into a tall glass filled with ice, add a splash of ginger beer, and top with club soda. Garnish with mint and a slice of fresh pear. 

Let us know how it turns out…  –  Larry Arndt, Bartender