Three of my six roommates are bartenders. When we did a major clean out of our kitchen last fall I was impressed with how many utensils I didn’t recognize: thin, endlessly long spoons (cleverly named “Bar Spoons”) specifically for stirring, various zesters for various things (fruits, nuts, roots, etc…), and strainers designed to fit different glasses and shakers. We designated a drawer in the kitchen for bar tools only and I steer clear of it. Since living here I’ve learned that I love a cocktail made with egg whites, am a fan of smokiness (hence a preference for mezcal over tequila) and appreciate a thoughtful garnish. Though I’ve still got a lot to learn, I’m far from where I began, and therefore am almost qualified to share my thoughts on one of our newest market products at Pleasant Pops: Element [Shrub].
Element [Shrub] was founded a few years ago when a husband and wife team were expecting their first child and looking for an alternative to a booze-filled cocktail. After harvesting 400 pounds of crabapples with a Massachusetts foraging group, the couple discovered an old technique of preserving fruit: add vinegar and sugar together, toss in some fruit, and boom, shrub is born. Relying on the natural sweetness of fruit and the savory quality of the vinegar, the shrub mixed perfectly with a splash of sparkling water to make a drink that pregnant ladies (and their empathetic partners) can enjoy.
Over the years, Element [Shrub] has perfected four different flavors of shrub, all using apple cider vinegar as their base. Each bottle contains a concentrated liquid which should always be mixed and diluted. The four flavors are all really, truly yummy: Blueberry Rosemary, Chai Pear, Lemon Mint and Honeydew Jalapeño. Element [Shrub] has gone ahead and developed some drink recipes, like the “Element[ary] Margarita” with Honeydew Jalapeño shrub, tequila and ice or the “Shrub Revival” with Chai Pear shrub, cointreau, bourbon and ice. Each bottle is $19, but goes a long way. Plus, a bottle of Element [Shrub] is probably the most awesome gift you could bring to a summer cookout. We’ll be hosting the folks from Element this Saturday, May 23 who will be sampling out their amazing product, so make sure you swing by!