By Chamoy City Limits

Why we love fruit shrubs

If you're a fan of Chamoy City Limits, you may know that we have enjoyed experimenting with various pickled fruit and fruit shrubs to amplify the taste of our raspas. It's the very thing that set us apart from the competition. Nothing beats homemade pickled fruits and shrubs to transform a basic snowcone into the Best in SA. We are sharing our secret and want to invite you all into the world of shrubs. If you're interested in ordering our own shrubs, click here: 

Shrubs, also known as drinking vinegars, have a long history that dates back centuries. The origins of shrubs can be traced to ancient civilizations, particularly in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. Let's explore the history of shrubs and their evolution over time.

  1. Ancient Origins: The use of vinegar as a preserving agent and flavor enhancer can be traced back to ancient Babylon and Egypt. These early civilizations discovered that vinegar could be used to extend the shelf life of fruits and other food items. They would steep fruits in vinegar, creating a sweet and sour syrup-like concoction.

  2. Medieval Europe: During the medieval period, shrubs gained popularity in Europe. They were primarily used as medicinal tonics and digestive aids. Monks in monasteries played a significant role in preserving and developing the art of making shrubs. These beverages were often made with herbs, spices, and fruits steeped in vinegar. They were believed to have various health benefits.

  3. Colonial America: Shrubs were brought to the Americas by European settlers, particularly during the colonial era. In America, shrubs became a way to preserve fruits and berries that were abundant during the harvest season. They were used as a way to enjoy the flavors of fresh fruits throughout the year. Sugar was often added to balance the acidity of the vinegar.

  4. 19th Century: During the 19th century, shrubs enjoyed widespread popularity in America. They were considered a refreshing and flavorful alternative to alcoholic beverages. In an era when clean drinking water was not always readily available, shrubs provided a safe and enjoyable way to stay hydrated. They were often mixed with water, soda, or even alcohol to create different types of beverages.

  5. Decline and Resurgence: The popularity of shrubs declined with the advent of modern refrigeration and the availability of commercial soft drinks. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional and artisanal drinks. The craft cocktail movement has played a significant role in reviving the popularity of shrubs. People have begun experimenting with different flavors and combinations, making shrubs a staple in modern mixology.

Today, shrubs are enjoyed as refreshing and versatile beverages. They can be made with a wide variety of fruits, herbs, and spices, and can be mixed with water, sparkling water, or used as a flavoring agent in cocktails. We use them on our signature raspas and upon request on our snowcones!

The combination of fruit and vinegar creates a unique balance of sweetness and acidity, making shrubs a popular choice for those seeking complex and flavorful non-alcoholic or low-alcohol options. We use these as a base for our homemade chamoy, as well as to amp up signature flavors such as the salted watermelon raspa, to name one.

We make shrubs of all varieties: peach, pineapple, raspberry, watermelon rind and more. Check out our collection of shrubs in the online to shop to learn more and add to your bar!