By Carl Hanson

Shrubs, they're not just for front lawns anymore. Shrubs and switchels are refreshing seasonal sips with the tangy surprise of vinegar. There's so much to love, but here are a few of our favorite things:

The Five Best Things about Shrubs & Switchels

1. They quell the summer swelter.
Add a little mint tea and maybe a dash of sparkling water and a mountain of crushed ice, and you can defeat even the doggiest days of summer.

2. They make a terrific base for invigorating cocktails.
Splash a little vodka or gin in there, and you're onto something.

3. They're a great way to wake up the palate before dinner.

4. They're a smart, simple way to use up fresh fruit that's past its prime.
You can find pre-packaged "drinking vinegars" all bottled up and ready for mixing. Or you can make your own. Here are a few of the best recipes and mixing ideas from around the Web.

5. They're healthy thirst-quenchers that may boost the immune system.
For active peeps, they're also a smart alternative to energy drinks.

Some Favorite Shrub & Switchel Recipes

Try these refreshing drinks and find out what the shrub hubbub is all about!

1. Tart Apple-Ginger Shrub

"This syrupy, apple-infused drinking vinegar is an old-fashioned recipe that's used as a unique flavor enhancer for cocktails or sodas," says themoodyfoodie. "Store in the refrigerator."

Photo by Allrecipes

2. Spicy Lemon Ginger Switchel

"This haymaker's punch is an old-timey favorite that's basically just a refreshing, palate-cleansing, vinegary, and thirst-quenching sipping drink," says themoodyfoodie. "Pour over ice and enjoy!"

Photo by Allrecipes

3. Shrub

"This is the cold-process method for making a shrub," says Luba. "This is one of those 'don't have exact measurements' recipes, but if you get the ratios close, it is hard to mess it up. Although I'm usually a fan of using fresh ingredients, frozen fruit/berries actually work well and sometimes give a little more juice (don't tell!). I combine the shrub with sparkling water to make a nice soda. It can also be used in cocktails and salad dressing."

Photo by Luba

4. Switchel

"This is an early (pre-Civil War) drink used by farm workers in the field," says Baritone Bob. "Vinegar helps to keep potassium levels up, the honey soothes the throat during a hard day of haymaking, and the ginger helps with digestion and absorbing the potassium. Also called haymaker's punch. It is very tart, probably takes a bit of getting used to."

Photo by Christina

5. Cantaloupe Daiquiri Shrub

"This drink starts with a simple shrub--a tart, fruity liquid you make ahead and can also sip straight up or with seltzer," says Betty Soup.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

6. Blueberry-Bourbon Shrub

"This drink starts with a simple shrub--a tart, fruity liquid you make ahead and can also sip straight up or with seltzer," says Betty Soup.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

7. Earl Greyhound

Here's another shrub-based cocktail. "This drink starts with a simple shrub--a tart, fruity liquid you make ahead and can also sip straight up or with seltzer-made with sugar, vinegar, citrus, and a tea bag," says Betty Soup. "It's a play on a Greyhound (grapefruit juice and vodka). Salt the rim if you like."

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Now bring me a shrubbery!


Explore our favorite Low ABV Cocktails That Every Day-Drinker Should Know.

Advertisement