Mulberry & Black Currant Vinegar & Shrub with Lemon Balm

This recipe started out as just vinegar.  Upon further research it morphed into a "shrub" aka a sweet & sour vinegar drink spiked with sparkling soda.  Both recipes come from Put Em' Up! Fruits by Sherri Brooks VInton.

Vinton uses blueberries in her original recipe.  I opt for a non-traditionalists approach plus an addition of an infusion for complicatedness sake. Leftover black currants in the fridge and precious little mulberries hanging out at the dog park just waiting to be plucked provided inspiration while lemon balm seemed to be the pièce de résistance.

The vinegar would enhance any salad or work well with glazing a meat while the "shrub" will quench any summer fizzy soda hankering you may have.

Mulberry & Black Currant Vinegar (shrub recipe below)

1/2 pint of mulberries

1/2 pint of black currants

2 c. white wine vinegar

1 c. sugar (or sweetener of your choice...I would avoid stevia)

Wash the berries and remove the stems from the black currants not the mulberries. (They are too difficult to remove).

Place the berries in a warm, sterilized jar and set aside.

Put the vinegar in a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil.  Add sugar and stir till dissolved.

When vinegar solution has returned to a gentle boil, remove from heat and pour the mixture over the berries. Allow the liquid to cool and place a piece of wax or parchment paper over the opening and screw on a canning ring. Place in the refrigerator shaking daily for approximately 1 week.

After a week, strain the contents into a clean sterilized container and store in the fridge from 3-6 months.

Mulberry & Black Currant Shrub with Lemon Balm

2 T. mulberry & black currant vinegar

1 cup sparkling water like La Croix (more or less depending upon your liking) 

1 sprig of lemon balm 

Pour the vinegar into a tumbler glass and add as much sparkling water as you prefer.  Add ice cubes if you'd like and lemon balm sprigs and muddle the mixture with a spoon or fork.

Grab your shades and hit up your favorite lounging spot and enjoy summer merriment at its best!