Most of you have seen the Tik Tok video that went viral regarding “Healthy Coke”. With just a splash of balsamic vinegar and sparkling water, the resulting concoction allegedly becomes a healthier version of Coca-Cola®. But did you know that this type of drink existed in America since the colonial days?
The concept of “Healthy Coke” comes from the ancient drink made with a shrub. What’s a shrub? Very simple – a vinegar infused with fruits. Shrub has a long history, believed to be used by the Babylonians and Romans. The English made shrub in the 17th century to preserve fruits using vinegar. The colonists brought this method to America, where they typically infused berries with vinegar for a few days to weeks. The mixture was then strained, sweetener added, and reduced to a syrup.
Why the resurrection?
Shrubs lost popularity when refrigerators eliminated the need to preserve fruits using vinegar. However, with recent interest in craft cocktails, the (professional and home) bartenders are experimenting with shrub recipes, each using different fruits, herbs, and vinegars. Shrubs are also healthy, with antioxidants and antibacterial properties from vinegar.
Inspired to make your own “Healthy Coke”? Here’s our own recipe to spark the creativity. Start a new “Tik Tok Healthy Shrub Challenge” and make yours go viral!
Strawberry Basil Shrub:
1 cup apple cider or balsamic vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 to 1-1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 cup Crystal Geyser® Sparkling (any flavor)
- Heat vinegar and sugar in a pan until sugar dissolves.
- Add strawberries and basil.
- Simmer 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth, into a clean glass jar.
- Cap the jar tightly and let rest 2-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Combine 1-2 tablespoons of shrub with 1 cup of sparkling water and ice.
- Garnish with strawberry and basil.