On the menu: Concord Grape Balsamic Shrub
Am I back so soon with another darkly hued beverage? I am. Unabashedly so. But fret not: the similarities between these two libation ends there. I had to share this with you quickly, before the Concord grape season is over. We are already on it’s tail end. Oh, September, how have you nearly passed already?
This is a Concord grape shrub, a vinegar based concoction that I have wanted to make since last September. I was finally inspired to make it and put a little spin on it by a recent post at a recently reinvented (and absolutely stunning) blog. Go there. You won’t regret it.
Let’s talk about balance. The irony of this is not lost on me. My calendar has blown up since the semester started, and I am swimming in classes, meetings, and seminars. Trying to do my schoolwork and start my research in the midst of these other commitments has not been easy. There’s not enough time in the day for me to feel accomplished. I feel like I’m falling, and fast. I’m busier than before, and I expected that, but there was no way to expect how busy I would be.
I’m worried about how this will affect things at home. I’ve barely seen Kevin in the last two weeks, I have a sick grandmother who I keep forgetting to call, I need to email Kevin’s pizza dough recipe to my father, my brother is expecting me to call and congratulate him on finally getting a girlfriend, and my maternal grandparents definitely deserve a reply to their latest email. And I certainly can’t forget to call my closest friends. I come home at night, and I can’t even think.
I do think that I’ll get a grip on how this is all going to go eventually. It’s only week 3. You gotta get off the ground before you can fly, right? I know I’m not off the ground just yet.
In the meantime, there’s shrub. It takes a few days to put together, but the end result rewards you well for your trouble. The nostalgic flavor of Concord grapes is elevated by adding a bit of earthy balsamic vinegar, but the mixture retains brightness from a hefty amount of white wine vinegar as well. The shrub strikes a brilliant balance between sweet and tart. I’ve mixed mine with club soda and whiskey. Kevin sips his straight.
Concord Grape Balsamic Shrub
adapted from The Year in Food, inspired by Reclaiming Provincial
makes just shy of one quart
3 1/2 cups Concord grapes–about one quart
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Combine the grapes with the sugar and mash the fruit to release its juice. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for two days in the fridge.
Strain grape juice through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Let it sit for a good half an hour. At this point, I placed the remaining grapes onto a double thickness of cheesecloth and gave it a good squeeze to extract any last bits of juice. A wooden spoon in the strainer would also work.
Add the vinegar to the juice, then pour the mixture into a quart container and let sit for a week in the fridge.
Serve with club soda (1:3 ratio) or whiskey (1:2 ratio). Or be like the guy and sip yours straight from a wee cordial glass. The shrub will keep in the fridge for up to a year. But you know it won’t last nearly that long.