INGREDIENTS(Makes 1 bottle)
It’s vital that we put nutrients back into our body over the winter period. The cold weather can be enough to knock our immune systems, however when combined with less sunlight and an abundance of alcohol and sweet treats over Christmas, we can be left feeling worse for wear.
Our resident nutritionist and wellness expert Rhaya Jordan shares her favourite winter shrub recipe, a nourishing drink that can be used as a mixer for alcohol whilst giving a real health boost. Shrub syrups are traditional English drinks that were originally created as a way to preserve and enjoy ripe fruit. Typically, a standard recipe combines equal parts of fruit, sugar and vinegar to create a thick syrup that can be diluted with still or sparkling water.
Using delicious cranberries for a wonderfully festive flavour, Rhaya’s winter shrub provides a real antioxidant kick and is great for detoxifying our systems once the New Year passes. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, honey provides beneficial enzymes and propolis, thought to reduce inflammation, and apple cider vinegar is a great source of probiotics which help to digest protein and keep blood sugar levels stable even if the mince pies and Christmas cake come your way.
Warm the cranberries in a saucepan with the spices until the berries burst.
Add the honey and ginger then let the mixture cool.
When it has cooled, remove the spices and blitz them in a blender before adding the apple cider vinegar.
Pour the mixture into a bottle and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
Enjoy it as a mixer for alcoholic drinks or in place of an alcoholic drink if you’d like to give your liver a break from candy-sweet cocktails (or mocktails).
TIPS FROM RHAYA:
1. If you want a more refined shrub with less cranberry bits, spend a moment straining the cooked cranberries through a mesh sieve rather than whizzing them in a blender. The result will be a beautiful jewel-coloured shrub. Or, if you’re happy with a cloudy shrub and want to keep all parts of the berries in it, stick to blending it.
2. Cranberries are brilliant but their skins are tough and they don’t taste very nice when raw, so you might need to cook them just enough to break them down a little. Don’t worry about losing the antioxidant properties when cooking – they should survive some warming up.
3. The traditional ingredients of a shrub have been subbed with those that will benefit your health – sugar with honey and regular vinegar with apple cider vinegar – so try to stick as closely to the recipe as possible to give your body what it will love.
4. A cranberry shrub will not work without something sweet. If this is a concern, you may only want to add in a teaspoon or two of honey to your shrub; this will give it just enough sweetness and is still better for you when compared to the contents of sugary soft drinks.