Friday, August 19, 2016


The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CX) was pickled, er... picked by Adam of the Mr. Muddle blog. The theme he chose was "Vinegar," and he elaborated on the concept with his description of, "Earlier this summer I went berry picking with the family, and we ended up with a quart of strawberries. If you don't know exactly how many berries are in a quart, let me assure you it's a lot. Obviously some of these were earmarked for cocktail usage, but I wanted to do more than garnishes and muddling. Enter the shrub, also known as drinking vinegar. The combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar has been around for centuries, particularly popular in Colonial America. While these are delicious with a splash of soda on the rocks, they bring a fresh, bright flavor when combined with spirits... This got me thinking -- how else are people incorporating vinegar into their drinks? And why stop at shrubs? For this month's MxMo, let's make the whole range of vinegary things fair game."
In thinking about this theme, I did two things: reaching for Michael Dietsch's Shrubs book and rooting around in the back of the fridge to see what shrubs I had available. In Dietsch's book, I honed in on the shrub-Negroni hybrid, the Shrugroniz, that offered up a lot of flexibility with the call for a fruit shrub of any type. In the back of my fridge, I found bottles of strawberry, mulberry, and kiwi shrubs. With disbelief, I tasted the strawberry one and it still tasted rather good for having been bottled on August 14th, 2009. Yes, the Colonial folks were on to something with their preservation methods since the flavor was still intact (albeit not as bright and vibrant) 7 years later! Strawberry and Negronis have been paired in my mind since I tried the Sbagliato Grosso from Left Coast Libations.
• 1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Tempus Fugit's Alessio)
• 1 oz Campari
• 1/2 oz Fruit Shrub (Strawberry)
Stir with ice and strain either into a rocks glass filled with ice or into a cocktail glass (cocktail coupe, served up and garnished with a floated strawberry slice).
The Shrugroniz greeted the nose with a strawberry aroma that was accented by Campari's bitter herbal notes. Next, the sip was an elegant pairing of grape and berry flavors, and the swallow began with gin and a strawberry-bitter orange combination and ended with a light vinegar tang. With the shrub, the drink was not as sweet as it would have been with a fruit syrup, and in fact, it might have been slightly drier than the classic.

So thank you to Adam for hosting this excellent theme and bringing back Mixology Monday from its hangover rest, and thank you to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants who keep the shakers shaking and the mixing spoons swirling each and (almost) every month! Cheers!

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