You may ask yourself, what is a shrugroni? Well obviously, it’s a Negroni made with a shrub. In this case a watermelon shrub. I’ve been seeing shrubs all over the menus of hip cocktail bars around town; they always seem so mysterious. They often have fruit flavors like blackberry or rhubarb and apparently are not woody plants the way I usually think of shrubs, but what are they?? I bought a cookbook to find out – Michael Dietsch’s Shrubs: An old-fashioned drink for modern times. It turns out, shrubs are just vinegar and fruit (or vegetables). Meaning if you can juice it, you can probably shrub it. Which opens a whole world of cocktail possibilities…
This recipe is a very strict ADAPT from Dietsch’s book. I used his shrub recipe with the vinegars I had on hand, then used that shrub in his Negroni recipe. Hardly creative, but I had never made a shrub nor used one in a cocktail so I wanted to start on strong footing. I chose watermelon because it’s what I could pick up at Haymarket (the produce market in my neighborhood, more details on that in a coming post). I will admit, I’ve been trying to use this shrub in other cocktails, but it always seems weird. I think I’m still trying to figure out how to fit shrubs in with the more usual cocktail ingredients. I’ll keep trying and report back on my progress!
Below, the recipe:
Makes 1 drink
- 1.5 c cubed watermelon
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- place watermelon, lime zest, and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine
- cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day
- strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl
- pour vinegar over solids in strainer to wash off sugar. Repeat washing solids until all sugar dissolved into the liquids in the bowl. Discard the solids.
- Pour shrub into a mason jar, close lid and shake to dissolve. Store in refrigerator.
- 1/2 oz watermelon-lime shrub
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- rosemary sprig
- Stir together everything except the rosemary in a shaker, then add a bunch of ice and shake for 20 seconds
- Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with the rosemary sprig
This was a nice twist on a Negroni! I didn’t taste the watermelon too much, but the drink overall seemed very balanced, and not so Campari-heavy like some Negronis. One potential problem is that each drink uses so little shrub! I guess I’ll have to come up with lots more cocktail recipes.