Element [Shrub] owes its origins to a pregnancy craving. Charlie and Angela Berkinshaw were expecting their first child and looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to the artificially flavored and overly sweetened drinks on the market. They both enjoyed harvesting locally grown fruits and were looking for a way to preserve them when they came across the history of the shrub. Hearkening back to 17th century England, shrubs are simply a way to preserve fruit by using vinegar instead of citrus and adding sugar. So, you can easily think of them as sour mixes with more character than simply lemon and lime juice.
The traditional way to drink a shrub is by adding some still or soda water to the syrup. Recently however, many bars have begun using them in their cocktails to great success. Element has six different flavors at present, several of which are quite unique amongst shrub flavors. GSN received samples of all except their Blueberry Rosemary Shrub.
Honeydew Jalapeno Shrub – A lot of jalapeno top notes on the nose. In flavor, the heat of the pepper comes through with a sour tang from the vinegar, but the honeydew seems to be lost somewhere in the mix. Granted, honeydew has a fairly mild character anyway. Tasty tho’. GSN Rating: B
Pineapple Turmeric Shrub – Light pineapple nose. The pineapple is subdued on the palate, taking a backseat to the vinegar. The turmeric seems to only come through long after the sour has died down, leaving a dry and woody tone. GSN Rating: C
Lemon Mint Shrub – My favorite so far. All of the flavors come through equally and seem lively and natural. The lemon makes this shrub more tart than the previous two, but the mint adds a wonderful cooling effect. Well done! This makes for an excellent drink on a hot afternoon, or try this in a rum, vodka or tequila cocktail for a boost of flavor. GSN Rating: A+
Chai Pear Shrub – This also works quite well and is mild in character, but has a beautiful spiced pear flavor. The vinegar seems less present here, but it is not sweet by any means. Delicate and tea-like. GSN Rating: A-
Cranberry Hibiscus Shrub – This sings one note, but it is quite good. The cranberry flavor is immediately reminiscent of the holidays and works hand-in-hand with the tart vinegar. Fresh, mouth-watering and well-balanced. GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Element Shrub