At a recent cooking class, I made and served a non-alcoholic lemon-cucumber shrub (a shrub is a drink made from vinegar and fruit along with other ingredients such as alcohol or sparkling water). It was a hit. At the end of the class, attendees gathered several bottles of the vinegar I used to make the various shrubs.
Vinegar has a way of both infusing and pulling out the flavor from ingredients which are steeped in it. This maceration process is simple and delightfully tasty. It's also a healthy alternative to store bought sweetened drinks. With spring's abundance of produce imminent, use your imagination to create delightful combinations of seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, and vinegar to make all manner of mixers and spritzers.
2 cups of Grapefruit White Balsamic (or your choice of white balsamic)
1 medium cucumber thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced
8 cups seltzer water or sparkling water (without sodium added)
In a one liter mason jar or container add the sliced cucumber and lemon. Pour the grapefruit balsamic over the cucumber and lemon and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to four hours. The longer it sits, the more pronounced the flavor of the fruit infusion. Strain and keep refrigerated and tightly covered for up to two months.
To serve, add 1-2 tablespoons of shrub (depending on your preference for sweetness) for 8 oz. of chilled sparkling water. Serve over ice if desired.
Makes between 16-32 servings depending on amount added to water or cocktails.