If you’re searching for a bubbly, refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage to enjoy during the summer months, look no further than this Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub.
Forgive me, I seem to be having a moment with stone fruit-themed beverages, as evidenced by my last post for White Peach Tarragon Frosè and the Spiked Iced Peach Green Tea recipe I created a coupIe of years ago but reshot the other day.
What can I say- it’s summer and I can’t get enough of stone fruit at the moment! And I must be thirsty, because all I want to do with them is create beverages to guzzle down.
Today I’m highlighting beautiful apricots in this non-alcoholic Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub. Blueberries (another summer fruit I adore) share the stage with apricots in this recipe.
Have you ever made a shrub? If not you must give it a go. Shrubs embody all of my favorite things about a drink- fresh, bubbly, not too sweet and some acidity thrown in which I find always balances things out, in both food and beverages. I’m a big kombucha drinker, so if you like kombucha, you will probably be a big fan of shrubs also.
This Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub is made just like any other shrub, but with one slight adaptation. Shrubs typically involve creating a fresh fruit syrup and mixing it with some type of acid, usually vinegar. This is what gives them that sweet/tart balance. After this mixture is created it’s combined with sparkling water and sometimes alcohol, but that’s totally optional.
Normally the syrup is created by combining a fresh fruit or combination of fruits (in this case apricots and blueberries, with a small handful of lemon verbena thrown in for a dose of heavenly aromatics) with sugar and letting the mixture sit for a day or two. Instead I decided to use honey to keep this beverage free of refined sugar. Muddling is my preferred method for combining the ingredients.
The next step after the syrup has had some time to develop and has been strained from the solid fruits is to add the vinegar. In the case of this Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub I opted for apple cider vinegar because I like the fruity component that it lends, and the fact that it doesn’t compete with the other fruit flavors. Then back into the fridge for another day or two to develop the flavors further. I know shrubs take a little advance planning, but trust me- they’re so worth the wait!
The final step is to combine the shrub mixture with a little bubbly water just before serving. You can add as little or as much as you’d like depending on how strong you’d like the flavor to be. This is also the part where you can add alcohol, if that’s your preference.
One final note about this Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub: I know that lemon verbena isn’t always the easiest to track down. I actually had to specifically order it from one of my grocery stores in order to make this. If you can’t find lemon verbena, I think basil would work splendidly as an alternative herb in this recipe.
I love all the endless flavor combinations that exist for shrubs, especially in the summertime. If you have any shrub recipes please share them with me because I’m all about them right now! And if you make this one, please share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LePetitEats so I can see your creation!
Blueberry Apricot Lemon Verbena Shrub
- 3 cups apricots, pits removed, thinly sliced (plus more for garnish)
- 1 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup raw honey
- 4 sprigs fresh lemon verbena, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
- Sparkling water
Place the apricots, blueberries, lemon verbena and honey in a large jar or sealable container. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, lightly crush the ingredients. Cover with a lid. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for 24-48 hours, shaking occasionally.
Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Strain out the syrup by pressing on solids with a wooden spoon. Place the syrup back in a jar and add the apple cider vinegar. Discard solids. Place back in the refrigerator for another 24-48 hours or up to a week.
To serve, pour one part syrup into a glass and top with three parts sparkling water. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with apricot slices, a few blueberries and a small sprig of lemon verbena.