Shrub – it might grow on you.   Leave a comment

marc1.jpg

We get seasons here. We may be 40 minutes from the Mediterranean but the pool has already had its first thin sheet of ice. The fruit and vegetables follow the seasons too : right now it’s the orange that rules. This New Year’s Eve we’re going to open up the Big House for the occasion : but even with log fires in all the rooms the guests will need further warming, so I shall try this old winter recipe – though I’ll probably save the Eau de Vie de Marc de Languedoc and stick with the brandy. I found this bottle in the cave beneath the house and judging by the label, it was made by the local distillary for the previous owner Monsieur de Longueval, from the skins and pips of his own grapes.

THE IDEAL BARTENDER
by Tom Bullock 1917

Dedicated to those who enjoy snug club rooms, that they may learn the art of preparing for themselves what is good. sepia-tom-bullock.jpg

Is it any wonder that Mankind stands open-mouthed before the Bartender, considering the Mysteries & Marvels of an Art that borders on Magic?


Recipes found in this Book have been composed & collected, tried & tested, in a quarter-century of experience, by Tom Bullock of the St. Louis Country Club.

BRANDY SHRUB (2-gallon mixture for 40 people)

Into a Punch bowl put the Peeled Rinds of 5 Lemons and the Juice of 12 Lemons and add 5 quarts of Brandy. Make the bowl airtight and set it aside. At the expiration of 6 days add 3 quarts of Sherry wine and 6 pounds of Loaf Sugar, which has been dissolved in 1 quart of plain Soda. Strain through a bag and bottle.

The English Housekeeper, 1851 Anne Cobbett who wrote ‘for the person of moderate income’ is well worth reading for contemporary values and ideals, and her belief that the daughters of ‘the poor’ should be taught domestic skills rather than to read and write. From the 1850s onwards, cookery books proliferated as part of the huge expansion in book publishing that followed the removal of the tax on paper, and improvements in production technology. Eighteenth-century cookery and household books were issued in short print-runs of 1000 – 2500 copies. Such books in the later nineteenth century sold in tens of thousands.

Shrub Serves 6

This was a popular drink among the ladies as it is ‘dangerously pleasant to drink’. The original recipe suggests preparing the drink at least five days in advance. But you will find that it is quite a tasty punch almost immediately after it is mixed. It is likely that oranges were less sweet in those days, and you may wish to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe.

5-6 juice oranges
2 cups (or less) sugar
1 quart rum or brandy
Squeeze the oranges until you have 2 cups of juice. Reserve half of the skins. Strain the juice to remove the pith and pits.
Combine the juice, sugar and liquor in a large bottle. Coarsely chop the orange peels and add them. Cover and shake the mixture.
About 8 hours later, strain out the peels. Cover and shake the mixture about 4 times daily for the next 4 days. Reserve for use.
To serve, pour into a small punch bowl and chill with ice either in the bowl or in individual glasses.
To 1 quart of strained orange juice, put 2 lbs. loaf sugar, and 9 pints of rum or brandy; also the peels of half the oranges. Let it stand one night, then strain, pour into a cask, and shake it four times a day for four days. Let it stand till fine, then bottle it.

Arabic shurb ‘beverage’

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Posted December 27, 2007 by Richard Williams in food & drink

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