When thinking of a shrub what pops into my mind is a plant in my garden that is a woody perennial which gives a bit of structure to my garden. Recently however I found out that there is another version which is far more pleasing to my palate!
Nestled just back from the Castlereagh Highway on the way into Mudgee from Sydney is a unique micro handcrafted batch producer of Shrubs. Located at the Tasting House in Horse Flat Lane is Wellstead Shrubs and where you will find Clitie Murdoch who creates delicious drinking shrubs.
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America. By the 19th century, typical American recipes for shrubs used vinegar poured over fruit (traditionally berries) which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterward the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup. The sweet-and-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails. The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited as an aperitif or used as an alternative to bitters in cocktails. Unlike cocktails acidulated with citrus, vinegar-based drinks will remain clear when shaken.
Clitie sources her fruits from farmers who produce high quality blood oranges, passionfruit and raspberries which she believes makes her shrubs shine. She started making her raspberry shrub 14 years ago when a recipe she was making needed the shrub and as she didn't have access to any she decided to make her own. It turned out so delicious all her friends wanted some, and now here she is today with many creations.
Wellstead Shrubs is open at the Tasting House from 10-5 Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sundays. Look for the sign which is opposite Aril Estate only 10 minutes south of Mudgee.
When you pop in to see Clitie try the blood orange shrub which can be used in a Vodka Cocktail.
2 Parts Vodka 1 Part Blood Orange Shrub Sprig of Rosemary Topped with sparkling mineral water
Put the above ingredients in to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a High Ball glass and top with sparkling mineral water and enjoy with friends. .
The Raspberry Shrub is also amazing on fresh oysters!
Wellstead Shrubs is the perfect place to enjoy with your girlfriends for a hen's party, baby shower or birthday. Country Escape Tours has a fabulous tour which encompasses a 3 course lunch at the Tasting House, where you will be greeted with one of Clitie's creations. Gather the Girls and have the perfect day out.
Country Escape Tours also includes Wellstead Shrubs on our wine tasting tours, so next time you are in Mudgee join one of our tours and let us create your Mudgee Moment!