Last year I smoked much of September’s heirloom tomato harvest, then froze them in freezer bags and used them in stews, sauces, and soups throughout the winter and spring. This year I’m smoking the tomatoes again, but instead of freezing, I’m preserving them as “Shrub Syrups”. Here is a stellar Bloody Mary made with a tomato shrub syrup, with a bonus of two other cocktails using the tomato shrub.
Basics of a Shrub Syrup:
A shrub syrup is a concentrated syrup made of fruit, sugar and vinegar.
There are various methods of extracting the juice from the fruit (i.e., cold shrubbing vs. hot shrubbing), but the easiest way to think of them is equal parts of the juiced fruit, the sugar and the vinegar, brought to a boil and strained.
If you want to get further into the details of making shrub syrups, check out these guidelines on ratios and methods of homemade shrub syrups.
Popular Uses of “Fruity” Shrub Syrups
Recently there has been a revival of shrub-based drinks, especially in the cocktail world. Shrub syrups can take cocktails to new levels, adding depth and complexity to a drink, especially when bitters are added in.
For non-alcoholic drinks, the popularity of the SodaStream as a replacement for sweet carbonated beverages (i.e., soda pop) is the perfect foil for shrub syrups.
No sodasteam? Just add a few tablespoons of shrub syrups to any kind of fizzy water (club soda, sparkling water, tonic water, etc.) and you have a really nice way to get that much-needed water into your dehydrated body.
Make it as sweet as you want and control the calorie count yourself instead of the soda companies controlling it for you.
More Ways to Use Tomato Shrub Syrup
The Tomato shrub syrup doesn’t lend itself to Italian Sodas and Spritzers like the fruity shrub syrups. It is more commonly used as a salad dressing, a marinade or an addition to sauces.
There are however, some specific cocktails that are enhanced and made special with the Tomato shrub syrup. Here are 3 of my favorites:
The Tomato Martini
In a shaker of ice, combine:
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz tomato shrub syrup
- 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
- 2 dashes bitters
Shake ingredients and strain into martini glass. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls.
Don’t have time to make a homemade tomato shrub syrup? Try this tomato martini made with tomato water from your leftover harvest. It’s lighter and easier.
The Tomato Daquiri
- 1 oz. Citron vodka
- 1/2 oz. Effen Black Cherry Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Smoked Cherry Shrub Syrup
- 1 oz Tomato Shrub Syrup
- 2 dashes cherry bitters
- 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
In a shaker of ice add all of the above ingredients, shake and strain into glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Tomato Bloody Mary
See the recipe card below for the Signature Bloody Mary made with a tomato shrub syrup. Here are the ingredients laid out on a table:
Video of “how-to” make the Bloody Mary (plus a “behind the scene at our farm)
**Note: The beginning of this video is a behind the scenes look at HeathGlen’s Farm. If you want to go straight to the “how-to” on the Bloody Mary, skip to 1:00.
Tomato Bloody Mary
- 3:1 ratio of sea salt to celery salt for rimming salt
- Sprig of dill
- 2-3 cherry tomatoes
- 1 jalapenos Sliced crosswise
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 ½ oz. gin
- 1 oz cucumber liqueur
- 3 oz tomato shrub syrup
- 2 dashes bitters
- Grind sea salt and celery salt together in a coffee grinder and place on a flat plate3:1 ratio of sea salt to celery salt
- Rim a tall glass with a lime wedge and press it into the celery salt on the plate to form a salted rim
- In a cocktail shaker muddle together the dill, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos and lime juice2-3 cherry tomatoes, 1 jalapenos, 3 Tbsp lime juice, Sprig of dill
- Add to the shaker some ice, the gin, cucumber liqueur, smoked tomato syrup, and bitters1 1/2 oz. gin, 1 oz cucumber liqueur, 3 oz tomato shrub syrup, 2 dashes bitters
- Add ice to rimmed glass. Shake the ingredients in the shaker for about 10 seconds and strain into the rimmed bloody mary glass.