Manuscripts and Special Collections

Recipe of the month: Shrub

March 1st, 2011 at 08:03

Shrub is a cordial made with fruit juice and a spirit – in this case brandy, but often rum – which was very popular in the 18th and early-19th centuries. A non-alcoholic version is made with vinegar. The quantities in this recipe are enormous – 3 gallons equals 8 pints! The recipe was probably intended for the mistress of a large household, but shrub also lasted a long time without going bad, so the batch could be expected to last the family a considerable while. The recipe comes from Margaret Willoughby’s recipe book, dated 1737. It was not entirely successful, as someone has added a note at the bottom, ‘The Sugar rather to much’.

Shrub (MS 87/4, p. 3)

Take 3 Gallonds of brandy, put to it 3 quarts of the Juce of Lemmons and one quart of the Juce of oranges, put the thin pair’d rhinds of half the fruit into half the brandy and let em stand all night, then mix and strain it into a Vessel with 6 pounds of double rifin’d Sugar, Shake it 4 or 5 times a day for 4 or 5 days together, then let it stand to Settle and when it is fine bottle it. The Juce must be strain’d through a Jelly bagg.

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