[dropcap letter=”W”]ant to slake your thirst like a colonist? Try a shrub, bub. Fruity drinking-vinegars all the rage in turn-of-the-18th-century Maine, shrubs are enjoying a comeback driven in part by craft cocktail bars and in part by the kombucha set, folks who enjoy the none-too-sweet concoction as a non-alcoholic quencher. Kathi Langelier, founder and formulator of Union’s Herbal Revolution, added shrubs to her line of tonics and elixirs four years ago, when it seemed more and more customers were curious about booze-free beverages. Some shrubs are made by simmering fruit in simple syrup, but Langelier eschews heat (which nixes beneficial enzymes), tossing either rose petals, white-pine needles, or lowbush blueberries with honey and raw apple-cider vinegar, then allowing the ingredients to sit for days before straining. The tart drink that results can be sipped straight or diluted with water or soda. “I’m a farmer, it’s hot out, and vinegars are incredible for keeping us hydrated and our electrolytes balanced,” Langelier says. “I drink them all summer long.”
Herbal Revolution offers three shrub varieties in 8-ounce bottles: rose petal, white pine, and Maine wild blueberry. $15.