We were out last week at Pok Pok Noi, without the small people, and were actually able to sit at the bar and eat there. We ordered a drinking vinegar, pomegranate, and it was so good. I couldn't stop thinking about it. The food was great, too, of course, but I couldn't stop thinking about these drinking vinegars. I did a little research and yes, they are super easy to make— and so I made one. Here's a good link to what the heck these are.
The syrup recipe is 1 part fruit, 1 part sugar, and 1 part vinegar. In this case it was:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups frozen blackcap raspberries that we picked last summer
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
There are so many recipes for shrub syrup, most use heat, but I used this cold batch recipe and the middle child helped me make it. You pour the sugar over the berries, mash it up, wait a few days, mash again, strain, add the vinegar, and then you have your finished syrup. I had read the sugar dissolves without heat eventually, and I was dubious, but it really did. The finished syrup is not grainy at all. You can make it with any fruit, Pok Pok even serves a celery one.
To make the drinking vinegar we were served (which was non-alcoholic) I used 1 part syrup to 4 parts soda water and a lot of ice. The cocktail kids know all about this stuff already, of course, because it's stellar as a mixer undiluted in drinks.
Ours turned out great. Not as sweet as the one we had at Pok Pok, but that's easy to adjust and I like it a bit more tart. The taste is hard to describe. Or maybe it's not. It tastes like super fresh sweet berries and vinegar. Why that tastes good is hard to describe. Grammie loves it and so does Pete. The girls won't get near it, it smells really strong. I have to also mention it has kind of a medical taste, you now? At least it does for me. It think it's because I had been drinking diluted apple cider vinegar for digestive health reasons before trying this, so I associate vinegar with that. I think I would wonder if I had made it correctly if I had not tried it at Pok Pok first.
This was a crazy internet loop to research. Making these shrubs at home seems to have been all the rage last summer, and all the recipes I found linked back to Pok Pok (which I need to clarify is a super popular thai food restaurant with several locations here in Portland that gets written up nationally all the time) which now sells their own concentrate, Pok Pok Som. So, I'm pretty late to the shrub party, but they still let me in! A happy coincidence—domestically, this drink was made popular during colonial times. Perfect for our theme right now! I have images of ordering a shrub in a colonial dress and mop cap at the super cool scene that is Pok Pok. Wait, did I just write my own Portlandia skit?