One great way to make the most of every harvest is to preserve summer flavors in concentrated liquid forms, for use throughout the year. Some drinks are intended to have medicinal qualities, while others are simply refreshing; often they're both.
Simple Dandelion Shrub
This simple dandelion shrub is often used as a mixer in cocktails or mixed with sparkling water over ice for a refreshing summer drink.
4 cups dandelion blossoms
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
Gently heat the sugar, water, and vinegar in a pan until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool before pouring the syrup over the dandelion blossoms. Store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. Strain the liquid from the blossoms before bottling. To make a shrub soda, mix one part shrub syrup with two parts sparkling water and serve over ice.
Traditional Fermented Dandelion Shrub
Dandelion shrub is a traditional drink that has gained popularity again in recent years. However, most modern recipes consist of just vinegar, sugar, and water, leaving out some crucial aspects of the traditional experience. This is a recipe commonly used along the east coast around the turn of the 19th century.
8 cups dandelion blossoms
16 cups boiling water
4 pounds white sugar
1 ½ ounces compressed yeast
Pour boiling water over the blossoms. Let stand for 24 hours. Thinly slice lemons and oranges, remove seeds and place in bowl, pour sugar over them and let stand overnight. Strain blossoms from water, and pour the strained liquid over the orange, lemon, and sugar. Add yeast dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Do not use active dry yeast in place of compressed yeast! They are different strains of yeast and will not yield the same result. Let the mixture stand for five or six days, with cheesecloth for covering. Skim when necessary. Strain before bottling.