Shrubb is a traditional beverage served during the Christmas season, made with sundried orange zest macerated in white rum, sometimes with the addition of a cinnamon stick. You have to begin in October so that it has time to develop all its flavor and richness. Served as an aperitif, it is also served with glazed ham with pineapple or even pâté. Expanding beyond its traditional role, it is used to flavor Jean-Charles Brédas' Chocolate Passion cake and can find its way into anything where it hears the word "orange."
A good shrubb is all about balance. Too much orange essence leads to bitterness; too much syrup raises the alcohol content and the party will be over too early!
(1) Orange essence can be made in large quantities since it keeps for years. If you don't live in a warm climate, you can make your orange essence in the summer, or else dry the zests in a 30° C oven.
(2) Cane syrup can be purchased already made. The ratio of 1 part water to 2 parts sugar can vary. Test it by taste.
In certain Caribbean islands and in some families, a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, is added to the orange essence, along with a cinnamon stick and maybe even a clove. You can customize it according to your preference.
- Remove the zest from the oranges with a peeler or paring knife, taking care to remove the bitter white pith.
- Place the orange peel on a screen and dry in the sun for 7-10 days.
- Brush each peel, checking that there is no mold. Discard any that are moldy.
- Place the clean peel into a jar and pour on the rum.
- Close tightly and let sit until mid-December.
- In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water at a low simmer until syrupy, about 5 minutes.
- Strain and bottle. Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
- Strain the orange essence.
- Combine the cane syrup, orange essence and white rum. Bottle or transfer to a carafe with a tight lid. Enjoy!
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