This is my last cocktail recipe of the year, so I wanted to go out with a semi-elaborate bang. Around here, that means a fruity, herbal, boozy cherry basil shrub.
I am addicted to frozen cherries. Sometimes, I just pour a bunch of them into a mug and eat them with a fork. They’re almost like little bits of ice cream, and they defrost into a sweet, semi-chewy treat by the time you get to the end of the mug. We almost always have a bag of frozen cherries on hand, so a cherry shrub felt like a natural fit for my last holiday cocktail recipe of the year.
Next week, Dave and I are hitting the road for two whole weeks. I’m going to schedule some things to post while I’m away, but it’s going to be a bit more quiet around here than usual. I’m kind of excited about a break! I haven’t taken this much time off since I had Darrol Henry almost two years ago.
Like all of my shrub recipes, you can make this holiday cocktail into a mocktail by just skipping the booze and adding an extra splash of soda water. We have quite a few friends who are teetotalers, so I like a versatile drink that everyone can enjoy.
Cherry Basil Shrub
Yield: enough syrup for 10-12 holiday cocktails or mocktails
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries (no pits!), plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ounce gin (optional)
- soda water
- In your blender or food processor, combine the cherries, vinegar, and basil, and puree until smooth.
- Combine your puree with the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely, then set aside to cool. Once it’s cooled, transfer the mixture into a small pitcher or mason jar. You can strain if you like. My Vitamix did a good job of getting the puree really smooth, but if you’re not using a high speed blender, you might have some bits that need straining out.
- To make one holiday cocktail: Fill a tall glass with ice and add 1/4 cup of the shrub syrup and 1 ounce of gin. Top off with soda water and stir well. Garnish with a couple of cherries and a sprig of basil.
- To make one holiday mocktail: Fill a tall glass with ice and add 1/4 cup of the shrub syrup. Top off with soda water, and stir well. Garnish with a couple of cherries and a sprig of basil.