Where did the word “SHRUB” come from?
Unless you’ve come across these concoctions before the moment you hear or read the word Shrub, tasty and refreshing drink is probably the last thing on your mind. But, it is a drink. And you’ll be amazed by its history when you realise that people have enjoyed versions of these concoctions the world over—from colonial America, where sailors used them to prevent scurvy, to modern Asia, where people sip drinking vinegars as a health tonic to this day.
If you search for the meaning of the word “shrub” in relation to a beverage rather than the bushy plant in your backyard, you will discover it is also seen as a metathetic variant for the Arabic word sharab, meaning “drink” or “to drink”.
We delved into the history of vinegar concoctions used all over the world. Coming across other vinegar drink varieties such as Switchels which, as the Wikipedia says, is also known as the “Haymaker’s Punch”, a drink made of water mixed with vinegar that was often seasoned with ginger debatably originating in the Caribbean. Haymakers Punch became a popular summer drink in the American Colonies in the late 17th century and by the 19th century, it had become a traditional drink to serve to thirsty farmers at hay harvest time, hence the nickname.
THE EARLY ENGLISH Version
The early English version of Shrubs arose from medicinal cordials of the 15th century as well as one of the oldest Iranian drinks dating back to the ancient times that was made of a combination of vinegar (serkeh) and “angabin,” which refers to honey. The drink itself is called Sekanjabin which is still served in certain places as a refreshing drink usually during the summer season.
THE AMERICAN Version
The American version of Shrubs has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as Shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America. By the 19th century, typical American recipe for Shrub used vinegar poured over fruit—traditionally berries—which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterwards, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup. The sweet-and-sour syrup could then be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.
Well, there you have it. We hope you’ve made it through the brief history lesson and that you can spring your attention back to the present.
THE NATURALLY CHEEKY FOR LIFE Version
We know we are not the only Shrub that was ever made in Australia but we wanted to be different. We realise the growing need for healthy and natural drink substitutes and we believe our Naturally Cheeky Shrubs set themselves apart from the rest and set the new status quo. Making our Shrubs cold-pressed, raw and untreated transformed these ancient syrups into an extraordinary and delicious concoction worth having as part of a healthier lifestyle.