Burdock Syrup with Star Anise and Ginger

  
Burdock is a subtle, unusual ingredient that is often found in Asian markets where it is called gobo. I highly recommend using it the day you get it as it quickly becomes limp in the refrigerator. This is a simple recipe to facilitate a quick processing inspired by the British beverage made by Fentiman’s. Use an ounce of this syrup mixed with club soda for a dry soda or add some to prosecco or cava for a holiday cocktail. If you can’t use your burdock right away, wrap it in damp paper towels and plastic before refrigerating it.

Burdock Syrup with Star Anise and Ginger

1 burdock root, washed and cut into half inch rounds
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into half inch rounds
1-2 star anise, lightly crushed
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepot and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.
2. Strain and refrigerate. It should keep for a week or two.

Advertisements

Shrub

Shrubs are a beverage that go back to colonial times as a way of saving the season to enjoy throughout the year. Shrub refers to a sweet and sour syrup that can be enjoyed as a sipping vinegar or diluted with club soda. Historically, these beverages were related to the medicinal cordials of medieval England. Today, they are used as aperitifs or ingredients in cocktails. They involve fruit and herbs or spices that steep in vinegar and are later sweetened with honey or sugar. Throughout the year, I make several batches to enjoy diluted as a carbonated treat. Here are a couple of recipes to try out. Feel free to play with the amount of sugar you add or the type of fruit. In summer I make batches with different types of berries, but fall and winter are great with apples, pears, quince, or persimmons. I recommend using Bragg’s apple cider vinegar as it is unfiltered and not too acidic to be enjoyable. There are also some sources that claim apple cider vinegar may aid digestion, adding to its allure as an aperitif.

Apple-Cinnamon Shrub

Ingredients:
2 apples, cored and cut into small pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 sugar

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a quart sized mason jar or other comparable container. Give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge. After a week or two, strain the mixture, pressing on the apples to extract as much juice as possible. Give it a taste and add sugar if you’d like. Keep in mind it should be pretty tangy. Enjoy about 2 oz of shrub diluted with 6-8 oz of club soda according to your own tastes.

 

Pear-Allspice Shrub

Ingredients:
3 pears, cored and cut into small pieces
6-8 allspice berries, whole
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 cup sugar

Method:
Same as above.