As a seasoned barhound, there's nothing quite like the exhilaration of stumbling upon a real diamond in the rough. Especially when you end up finding a waitress who is so keen for you to try a drink that she goes to the trouble of pouring you a bottle of it, corking it and sealing it with wax.
It goes without saying then that I can definitely recommend popping in to VOC if ever your travels leave you stranded in Kings Cross with time to kill. Taking its name from the Dutch East India Company it specialises in punches and barrel aged cocktails and comes from the guys that brought you the Worship Street Whistling Shop and Purl. The cocktail list read like an alchemists recipe book and whilst I made a hefty dent in their repertoire, the waitress was insistent I went away withe a sample of the raspberry shrub. Once I'd tasted it I knew why, and once I'd found a recipe online I knew it would be a great one to share here.
A shrub is essentially a pre-refrigeration means of preserving fruit using acid and sugar. If you fancy exploring the world of 'hardcore shrubbing' (I kid you not, its a term) this article is fantastic, but for the purpose of this cocktail we can break the process down into two simple stages, making the syrup and adding the booze.
- 450g of raspberries
- 450ml cider vinegar
- 400g granulated sugar
- 230ml cold water
- 60ml golden rum
- Drop the berries into a non-metal bowl, add the vinegar and cover
- Let it mature in the fridge for 4 days
- Using a sieve, strain the mixture into a saucepan, pressing the fruit to release all the juice.
- Stir in your sugar and bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before decanting in a jar or much sexier covered container
- Shake 30ml of the shrub and 60ml of dark rum over ice
- Strain into a martini glass and start the weekend with a bang