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Rhubarb shrub

When my daughter was a teenager, our favorite thing was to go to the Holloway House (now permanently closed) in Bloomfield on Sundays for the mid-day all-inclusive turkey dinner. At some point during the multicourse meal, a palate cleanser would be presented—fruit shrub. Though the Holloway House stopped making bespoke shrub and started using loganberry syrup at some point, the original rhubarb shrub recipe is included in the wonderful Holloway House cookbook (along with Sally Lunn bread, orange rolls, and cream of peanut soup!). 

It wasn’t quite ready when I started experimenting with this recipe, but we were lucky enough to find a few pounds of frozen, cutup rhubarb in various gardeners’ freezers. To supplement, I bought large bags of frozen strawberries—because rhubarb and strawberries belong together—and used equal amounts of each fruit.


2 Ibs. cut-up rhubarb 

1 c. sugar 

1 c. vinegar—white, cider, balsamic . . . even raspberry will do the trick 

Wash and cut up the rhubarb. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and vinegar and cook around 20 minutes until the rhubarb totally breaks down, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve to remove all the rhubarb. Pour the resulting syrup into a jar and place in the refrigerator to mellow and let the flavors combine. To serve, add 2 tablespoons of the syrup into a glass and top with lemon-lime soda or club soda. You can also use it to make alcoholic cocktails. Let your imagination go wild. 

—From The Holloway House: Remembering Great Food & Good Times, by Dawn Wayne. For more information or to purchase, email [email protected].

N.B.: For my taste, this is too much vinegar. I have settled on about an eighth of a cup of high-quality balsamic when using strawberries, and I think apple cider vinegar would be very tasty with straight-up rhubarb shrub.

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