November greetings! Naturally, I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving.
Years ago I made what I called cranberry vinegar—basically, my usual strawberry vinegar with cranberries (I had to heat the vinegar a bit in order to get the cranberries to start blending with it). It was fabulous in salad dressings, and a friend loved mixing it with soda water as a drink.
Unfortunately, it gelled within a day or two; the pectin in the cranberries just couldn’t restrain itself.
So—here’s another version, from the book Colonial Spirits by Steven Grasse (2016, Abrams Books, recipe used with permission).
I have to admit that mine was a LITTLE tastier; both the cranberry and the sugar flavors came across more strongly.
But this one won’t gel up on you! It will beautify your Thanksgiving table and give your guests a refreshing beverage. I made it on my final fall appearance on Mass Appeal last week, along with my favorite key-lime pie, adding a little cranberry sauce to make the pie more seasonal.
3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the berries pop and become tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, and cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the cranberry mixture in a food processor. Don’t over-process the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a cheesecloth-lined sieve and strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Store the shrub in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes about 1 quart.
To make a refreshing beverage, pour 2 ounces of shrub into a tall glass with ice. Top with 1 cup soda water, and stir to combine.
And now the videos: