The cocktail revolution has made everything old new again and that includes a Colonial era restorative, the drinking vinegar, aka shrubs. An American tradition, shrubs were originally made to stretch the shelf life of fresh fruits and as a quaffer to combat hot weather. We first encountered shrubs at the cocktail mecca, The Dead Rabbit in Manhattan, then again while trying to cool our palates at Pok Pok (where they're just called drinking vinegars) and knew we were going to have to start experimenting with our own. We figured we'd celebrate spring with a rhubarb version (well, spring and the fact that Brown is a huge fan of rhubarb). Try a couple of tablespoons with some soda water over ice for a mid-day refresher, or try it out as an add-in to cocktails (we've found that they tend to work better with clear liquors). --Red & Brown


Rhubarb Shrub Makes about 4 cups

5    Cups rhubarb, (about 1/4 - 1/3 pound of whole stalks) 1    Cup sugar 1    Cup apple cider vinegar 2    teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (optional, but awesome)


Wash the rhubarb stalks and slice into 1/4 inch chunks. In a medium saucepan add your sugar and water and whisk them together to dilute as much of the sugar as possible. Throw in the rhubarb, place the mixture over medium heat and bring it to a boil.

Once things start to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Line a funnel, sieve, or mesh strainer with cheesecloth and  place it over a mason jar, or container with an airtight lid. Pour the mixture in to the strainer to separate the solids from the liquids. Let it drain for about 10 minutes then give the pulp a gentle squeeze through the cheesecloth to remove any remaining liquids. Strain the liquid again if necessary. Pop on the cover and store it in the fridge for up to a month.