I am going to write up this post as quick as I can: getting it done is one of many things on my ever-growing to-do list for today. Why the rush? Well, my friends, Hurricane Irene is on her way. While I am certainly hoping for the best, if the dire predictions we’re seeing in the media come to pass, it’s not going to be pretty. I live 90 miles North of NYC: we’ll most likely lose power, and it might be a little while before we get it back.

My friend Jessica, who also happens to live here in the Hudson Valley, put together this great list of Hurricane Readiness Tips. Please have a look if you’re in the path of this storm…there’s still a small window of time left to prepare.

Once I make sure everything on that list is done, and all my other goals for today are met (including making sure my chickens and beehive are as secure as possible), you can bet I am going to be relaxing attempting to relax with a cocktail. I am not a big drinker but something tells me the anxiety I am currently feeling is only going to mount by tonight. This Raspberry Shrub, made with homemade raspberry vinegar, has been a favorite discovery this summer: I think I’ll be clutching the Prosecco version pretty tight later today and possibly in the days ahead, as well.

Back in July, I used fresh raspberries to make a raspberry vinegar.

To do this, you just take 2 cups of fresh raspberries and put them in a 1 pint glass jar. Then pour white vinegar into the jar, completely covering the raspberries. Cover the jar with layer of plastic wrap before screwing on the lid (the vinegar can eat away at the metal lid otherwise), then let this hang out in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks.

If you want to make a larger amount of raspberry vinegar, use more jars and the amount of raspberries and vinegar needed to fill them.

At the end of two weeks, pour the raspberries and vinegar through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, carefully push on the raspberries to dispel all the liquid (don’t push so hard that you end up with pureed raspberry in your vinegar, though), then compost or discard the raspberries.

Stored in a clean glass jar (I ended up with 1 cup total), your raspberry vinegar will keep for a very long time. Store it in your pantry with the rest of your vinegars…no need for refrigeration. Such an easy process, right? So go snatch up some berries before the season’s over (how about before the hurricane comes if you’re on the East Coast!) and make some :)

Raspberry vinegar can be used in homemade salad dressings and marinades, but, as I happily learned from Bon Appetit, you can also use it to make Raspberry Shrub.

What’s a shrub, you ask? Here we are not talking plants, we’re talking about a beverage that’s sweet and fruity with a vinegar component. The word shrub is derived from the Arabic word “sharab“, which I’ve seen translated both as “syrup” and as “drink”. Shrubs have been enjoyed throughout history: they were a very popular refresher in American colonial times, in fact.

Research tells me that this isn’t a traditional shrub recipe (I’ve included links at the end of the post to “real” shrubs, if you’re interested). But it’s easy and unexpectedly delicious, so I hope you have a chance to try it some time…preferably not during a hurricane.

Recipe for Raspberry Shrub

Ingredients:

*sparkling water or Prosecco
*1 -2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
*1-2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
* lemon slices- optional
*mint leaves- optional

Directions:

Fill 12 ounce glass halfway with ice. Add sparkling water or Prosecco. Pour in maple syrup and raspberry vinegar (start with the 1 tablespoon amounts). Stir and taste: add more maple syrup or vinegar if you like. Garnish with optional lemon slices and/or mint leaves.

adapted from Bon Appetit

More Fruit Shrub Recipes:

Black Raspberry Shrub from Food in Jars
Elderberry Shrub from The Kitchn
How to Make Shrub Syrups from Serious Eats