1.SHRUBS (The Countryman Press, 2016, 255 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157-388-6, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Michael Dietsch who has also written Whiskey. He is bringing back an old-fashioned drink for newer times. Shrub in North America is a drink from the 13 Colonies, a concentrated syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar that is later mixed with water to make a refreshing drink that is both tart and sweet. Later, brandy or rum was added. Earlier in England the shrub was made from alcohol, sugar and fruit, with no vinegar. So that is the basic difference between US and English shrubs. Dietsch has re-created the shrub, favouring the cold process of extracting fruit flavours as that concentrates the fresh raw flavours of the fruit. There is an easy technique that he gives, and so you'll just need to substitute fruits and vinegars to create your own. He's got 50 shrub recipes plus 30 cocktails. But of course you can take a non-alcoholic shrub and just add brandy or rum. He's got some classic shrubs attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Martha Washington, but the rest of the book is divided as to "sweet shrubs", "savoury and sour shrubs", "cocktails" and updated classics (gimlet, martini, kir, sangrita). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: cocktail lovers, those craving non-alcoholic refreshing drinks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: rhubarb shrub, strawberry-peppercorn shrub, pear-ginger shrub,cherry-mint shrub, cranberry-apple shrub, red beet and peppercorn shrub, shrub float, gin genie.
The downside to this book: I wanted more history.
The upside to this book: He profiles three shrub makers, and includes a resource list.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.