Different, confident, fiery and I love it
Given that vinegar is traditionally a flavouring for salty and savoury food, it may seem very counter-intuitive to use it as a drink, but vinegar used as a means to flavour and ferment drinks has a well-established history. Many nineteenth century American recipe books give recipes for raspberry or blackberry shrubs (fruit fermented with vinegar), Constance Spry recommends ‘shrub’ as a good drink for shooting parties, and the children’s classic What Katy Did includes a vinegar drink as an ingredient for a children’s picnic:
‘The “something delicious” proved to be weak vinegar-and-water. It was quite warm, but somehow, drunk up there in the loft, and out of a bottle, it tasted very nice
Mother Root describe their drink not as a shrub but as a switchel – the traditional name for a non-fruit drink made of vinegar and water, often flavoured with ginger. In the world of non-alcoholic drinks where most makers look to herbs and spices to add flavour, it’s an interesting alternative that stands out from all the gin-substitutes. The smell can be disconcerting, because the vinegar very much hits the nose ahead of the other ingredients, with reminders of seaside fish and chips. In the mouth however, it’s a rounded, complex and surprisingly sophisticated drink. The saliva-inducing acidity of the vinegar is complemented by a pleasingly strong kick of ginger, backed up with chilli. These high-strength flavours are eased and completed with the warmth and sweetness of honey and a touch of apple and the whole results in a punchy, confident drink, that feels as if your mouth is being given a good seeing to by some bold ingredients. As one Amazon reviewer puts it, it delivers the buzz without the booze. It is probably fair to say this is a bit of a Marmite drink – its 4.2 Amazon rating is achieved by some very enthusiastic ratings, and a single one star – but I loved it. It’s different, a little challenging and very exciting to drink. The squat brown bottle has the vague look of containing something that should be administered to sickly children from a spoon. I’m happy to queue up for my medicine – this is something I’ll be buying again.
Or this drink may well be available from your high street supplier – we’re sorry we cannot check them all but you might like to.
You might also like to see what other drinks are available from different on-line suppliers: