The Food Issue

KC couple gives cocktails a healthy twist with vinegar-based shrubs

Bottles of freshly made shrubs (fruit liqueurs used in craft cocktails) are being made in small batches by Kansas City Canning Co., in Kansas City. The shrubs include (from left) Blood Orange, Apple Caraway shrub, and Spiced Pear.
Bottles of freshly made shrubs (fruit liqueurs used in craft cocktails) are being made in small batches by Kansas City Canning Co., in Kansas City. The shrubs include (from left) Blood Orange, Apple Caraway shrub, and Spiced Pear. The Kansas City Star

Health-conscious heathens, rejoice! If the idea of drinking vinegar to promote digestion and regulate insulin causes the insides of your cheeks to fur up, now you can sip your way healthy through cocktails.

Although the upstart local Kansas City Canning Co. shrubs (sweetened vinegar-based syrups) are not in themselves alcoholic and could be consumed mixed with club soda or diluted with tap water, they are delicious paired with whiskey or gin — no medicinal taste at all.

Husband-and-wife owners Tim and Laura Tuohy come from families with long histories of canning and preserving. They sell all kinds of pickles and preserves in local specialty shops, as well as shrubs, which they process at Flavor Trade on Troost Avenue.

Drinking vinegars, as shrubs are sometimes called, are a recent addition that has proved popular.

“I like cocktails,” Tim Tuohy says, “And so I wanted to tap into the whole mixology trend and give people something they can use to make great cocktails at home.”

The Tuohys expect to change out the recipes based on what is in season. The three shrubs currently available are Spiced Pear, Blood Orange Ginger and Apple Caraway. A 16-ounce bottle costs $16.

Kansas City Canning Co.: Products sold at nine area locations, including Nature’s Own Market and online; kansascitycanningco.com; Facebook; Twitter @KC_Canning_Co and Instagram @kansascitycanningco

Blood Orange Ginger Gin Cocktail

Makes 1 drink

1 part gin

1 part Blood Orange Ginger shrub

2 parts club soda

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass.

Apple Caraway Rye Whiskey Cocktail

Makes 1 drink

1 part rye whiskey

1 part Apple Caraway shrub

2 parts club soda

Mix all ingredients in a rocks glass and serve with or without ice.

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