By Carl Hanson
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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!

"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."

Tart Apple-Ginger Shrub
Photo by Allrecipes

"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!"

Spicy Lemon Ginger Switchel
Photo by Allrecipes

"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."

Shrub
Photo by Luba

"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."

Switchel
Photo by Christina

"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.

Cantaloupe Daiquiri Shrub
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

"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.

Blueberry-Bourbon Shrub
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

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."

Earl Greyhound
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine
| Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Now bring me a shrubbery!