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Magnificent Obsession: Shrub & Co.'s Terrific Shrubs

Why we're sweet on the slightly sour concoctions from Berkeley's Deborah Marskey and Juan Garcia.

 

Another reason to love drinking in the Bay Area: Shrub & Co. True to its name, the three-year-old Berkeley enterprise produces shrubs—Colonial-era beverages made from vinegar, sugar, water, and aromatics.

Founders Deborah Marskey and Juan Garcia, native Californians then living in Atlanta, first encountered the shrub a few years ago when they came across a copy of Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide, originally published in 1862. “We saw this little word there called ‘shrub’ and became very curious about it,” Garcia recalls. He and Marskey began experimenting, soon realized that there was an untapped market for their concoctions, and relocated to Berkeley, where they’re producing a line of eight flavors in a commercial kitchen. Stand-outs include ginger root and cranberry–Douglas fir, both of which broadcast big but nuanced flavor. Like the rest of Shrub & Co.’s varieties, they’re organic and contain a minimum of ingredients.

Though they make extremely versatile cocktail mixers, the shrubs are lovely on their own: They start sweet and finish with a nice vinegary burn that lingers pleasantly on the tongue—and in the memory. 

 

Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco

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