Shrubs, sometimes called drinking vinegars, are an infusion of fruit, sugar, and acid. They were developed to preserve fruit before refrigeration existed and are a great way to use up slightly bruised or overripe seasonal fruit. This easy peach shrub starts by macerating peaches with sugar for two days and then adding vinegar and basil leaves. After about a week, the infusion is strained and you’re left with a potent sweet-tart drinking vinegar that has the essence of peach and a touch of herb flavor, ready to be turned into a nonalcoholic spritzer or added to cocktails.
To make a peach shrub spritzer, combine 2 parts club soda with 1 part peach shrub and pour over ice. Taste and add more club soda or shrub as needed.
What to buy: Nectarines can be substituted for the peaches, and because the fruit is macerated and then discarded, slightly bruised or overripe fruit can be used.
Game plan: This recipe needs 2 days of maceration time and at least 7 days of infusion time, so plan accordingly.
- Yield: 2 cups
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 15 mins, plus at least 9 days macerating and infusing time
- Active: 15 mins
- 1 pound peaches
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 10 to 20 fresh basil leaves
- Halve, pit, and cut the peaches into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium, nonreactive bowl.
- Add the sugar and toss until the peaches are thoroughly coated and most of the sugar has dissolved. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days, checking after 1 day to make sure that all the sugar on the bottom has dissolved. (If the sugar hasn’t dissolved, toss again.)
- Add the vinegar and basil and stir to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the peach mixture, pressing on it with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to extract all of the liquid; discard the contents of the strainer. Transfer the peach shrub to a pint jar or container, cover with a tightfitting lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.