Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #96,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #25 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > Spanish #539 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine
Vinegar? Drinking vinegar? What? Is this some kind of weird Brooklyn hipster thing, like fixed-gear bikes and handlebar mustaches? Well... it's old-fashioned, and it's clever (preserving fruit was a thing before refrigeration was a thing, after all), and the author actually does live in Brooklyn. But look, the point is, sometimes there's real value in checking out supposedly obsolete or quaint old traditions. Especially when they're delicious.The first section of the book is a nicely well-rounded (but not dry or stuffy) history of the two kinds of beverages that have at various times and in various places been known as shrubs; one has sugar, fruit, and alcohol (mostly rum, back in the day) and one was a sugary, tart, herb-infused beverage that honestly sounds like the 12th century version of modern sodas, except way better (seriously, would you rather drink Arctic Blast Extreme, or Peach Honey Mint?). It's fascinating to read about the way these drinks moved across Europe, then to Colonial Amercia, where shrubs were common. There are recipes from at least a couple of guys who now appear on money, for example. (In both original form, and updated, because Dietsch cares about the historical accuracy but also the flavor.)Shrubs never went away completely, but they sure did become obscure, and that's interesting too. Dr. Pepper claims to have 23 flavors, and that's typical for something invented in early 20th-century America. What can be really great is a simple-sounding but amazingly effective combination of sweet, acidic/ tart, and fruit. It helps that shrubs are very, VERY easy to make at home. For those few ingredients you can get a lot of flavors.
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