A Shrub Spritz Is a Perfect Summer/Fall Cocktail


Illustration for article titled Cling to That Summer Feeling With a Shrub Spritz

Photo: Claire Lower

3-Ingredient Happy Hour3-Ingredient Happy HourThe weekly drink column featuring super simple yet delicious libations.

One of the most forlorn, painfully nostalgic songs ever written is “That Summer Feeling” by Jonathan Richman. It’s not really a song about summer; it’s about experiencing the joys of summer as a carefree young person who hasn’t really experienced much else. It’s been kind of hard to listen to this summer, because there has been a lot to care about over the past few months.

The only moments that felt remotely close to carefree or summery were times I was outside hiking, sitting by a river, or picking a fruit of some sort from a tree or bramble. These mostly took place before a bunch of trees caught on fire and the air became too hazardous to breathe, though I was recently able to pick blackberries behind my dad’s house after rain came and cleared the smoke. I picked way to many blackberries, as is my custom.

To me, the best use for the last bit of too many blackberries (after the best ones have been eaten and cobblers have been baked) is to macerate the remaining, kind of mushy, not-quite-perfect berries in sugar, then mix the resulting syrup with vinegar to make a shrub. Shrubs combine three of my favorite things: sugar, acid, and the smug feeling that accompanies consuming all the berries before they grow mold. (Though if you don’t want to make one yourself, you can buy one.)

Shrubs are good splashed into soda water, but they’re even better when mixed with soda water and gin. The result is an aggressively flavorful spritz that punches you in the mouth with sweet and tart berry flavor even as the gin punches you in the brain, creating something akin to—if not exactly the same as—that summer feeling. I like berry shrubs best, but feel free to play around with the formula. To make this fizzy drink, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces shrub (either homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 ounces soda water

Pour the first two ingredients into a highball and stir to combine. Fill the glass with ice, top with soda water, and give everything one more gentle stir before sipping through a straw.



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