Shrubs (or drinking vinegars) are all the rage this year, but we’ve been drinking them for several years now. They’ve largely replaced sodas for us. I’ve tried a wide variety of combinations, with my favorite so far being a tie between cherry-vanilla and today’s recipe, rosemary orange.
I got the idea for this shrub when we took my parents out to lunch a few weeks ago. As you know, we’ve been trying to save money recently, what with the astronomical vet bills and the new roof we had to put on our house. So when my parents came to visit, we skipped going out for dinner and instead tried a few local spots for lunch. If you’re on a budget, but still yearn for the occasional meal you don’t have to cook yourself, there are some terrific lunch deals to be had in this town. We found two in particular that are well worth your time and money. The first is the $15 three course lunch at Blueacre Seafood. I hope to have the time to write a little post on this meal alone, but trust me. You will be full for the rest of the day on just $15.
The second is Nell’s. Located in Green Lake, Nell’s is quite often overlooked. I’ve never seen them do a lot of advertising, their storefront is nondescript and reserved, and honestly, I lived just up the street from them for over a year before I even knew they existed. Nell’s uses seasonal ingredients, and they source well, so we can feel good about eating there. However, despite their proximity to us, their sourcing, and their reputation, we’d simply never made it in. Why? Well, these days, Nell’s for dinner is just a bit out of our financial comfort zone. Nell’s casual fine dining. After dining there for lunch, I believe they are likely worth every penny you’d pay for dinner, but until we stabilize a bit, we need to keep most of those pennies to ourselves. However, on the weekends, Nell’s is an excellent value for lunch. They recently started offering a patio lunch menu (PDF) on the weekends. If you’ve been meaning to try Nell’s, or if you’ve never heard of them and the menu now has your mouth watering, try them for lunch on the weekends. If you go early, there’s no wait at all and the service and the food are top notch.
This is a very long introduction to the inspiration for this drinking vinegar, Nell’s rosemary lemonade. This lemonade was… perfection. It was at the same time very sweet and very tart, with a strong rosemary punch. I knew right away that I wanted to evoke the memory of this lemonade in a shrub. Normally, I’d use local apple cider vinegar, but I felt the need for a splurge, so I picked up some blood orange vinegar. I used a 4 day steep to really concentrate the rosemary flavor.
- 4-6 sprigs of rosemary, at least 3 inches long
- 1 cup of blood orange vinegar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems and place in a saucepan.
- Add the blood orange vinegar and bring to a boil.
- Turn off the heat immediately and let the mixture cool.
- Transfer to a non-reactive bowl (glass is good), cover, and let steep for 3-5 days.
- Strain the liquid and discard the rosemary.
- Return the infused vinegar to a saucepan and add the sugar.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
- Cool and store in a mason jar (or even in the original vinegar bottle) in the fridge indefinitely.
- To prepare a shrub, add 1-1.5 Tbsp of the rosemary-orange syrup to a 12 oz glass. Fill the glass with sparkling water and enjoy.
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