Don’t get me wrong, friends. I like a glass of wine just as much as the next totally independent and productive grown woman. (Side comment: I’m trying not to say “girl” as much these days. I’ve been trying for like a year though, so you can imagine how well it’s going.) I like to learn about wine. I like the ritual of selecting a bottle from my bar. I like having a special drink at the end of the day. But my pocketbook, internal organs and cognitive functions are not always there for a wine. And that is where this post comes in – the best mocktail for this holiday season!
And by “holiday season”, I mean “zooming with friends from our own homes while wearing fancy clothes”. Yet another reason to maybe not always reach for the wine.
Moving on. This is a mocktail that I have been obsessed with for almost three years now. It is super easy to make and ingredients go a long way for very little cost. I am so excited to introduce to you – the humble, delicious Shrub.
A shrub? Like a small tree?
Clearly, I don’t mean a small tree. I’m talking about a drink, not a plant.
Okay, but I need more details. Because it sounds like a small tree.
Fair enough. If you google “shrub”, you’re going to find out that shrub is a synonym to bush. Touche, google.
If you google “shrub drink“, you will come across lots of versions of the drink with spirits included. You’ll also come across lots of variations that look really complicated.
But truly, all you need are two ingredients:
- Sparkling water (I make mine with my Sodastream – not sponsored, just great)
- Fruit flavoured white balsamic vinegar
- Optional: Ice. Fruit for garnish. Maybe go really fancy and add some fancy flavoured bitters? There are no rules!
- Double optional: Pretty glassware. Make it fun!
There is no recipe. Fill a glass with sparkling water (plain or a flavour you like) and top it off with a splash of the white balsamic. Add a little to start, give it and stir and a taste, add more if you like. Throw in your favourite cocktail add-ins. Part of what makes this mocktail the best is the fact that it is endless customizable.
I’m in! Where do I find white balsamic?
Great question! I typically pick it up from a specialty oil and vinegar store.
In Calgary: I recommend Soffritto, specifically their location at the Calgary Farmer’s Market. (Mostly because that location is 7 minutes from my house). You can also order online through their website or through the newly launched Best of Calgary Foods.
In the Kootenays: It’s worth it to take a trip to Kimberley to visit OU Tasting House. I need to give them kudos for introducing me to The Shrub!
Otherwise, any upscale grocery store (or non-upscale grocery store) that has an extensive olive oil selection is likely to have a white vinegar appropriate for drinking.
And that is The Shrub, the best mocktail I’ve ever made. Like wine, it is a little bit sweet, a little bit savoury. Unlike wine, it’s hydrating and non-alcoholic! Give it a try and let me know how you like it in the comments!