Aspen Times Weekly Libation: The Shrubbery | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly Libation: The Shrubbery

by Amanda Rae

"I didn't want to just contribute hot or heavy drinks with cinnamon, vanilla, and butterscotch," says bartender Matt Lanning of Meat & Cheese Restaurant. Instead, his insanely popular cocktail, The Shrubbery, conjures summertime while quenching parched winter palates thanks to Pok Pok Som Chinese Celery Drinking Vinegar. (While honoring Monty Python, too.) Technically a shrub — or fruit-infused acid, popular during Colonial times — the ingredient is rich in vitamin C and beneficial bacteria. Its brightness, when combined with house-infused pear-ginger gin, surprises imbibers. "As a bartender, you hear from eight out of 10 people, 'No gin,'" quips Lanning, who urges folks to try The Shrubbery anyway. "It's light, refreshing, a little floral without being cloying, not sweet at all, acidic, and balanced. You'll try it and then have two of 'em."

MAKE IT

1.5 ounces Asian pear-and-ginger-infused gin

1.5 ounces Pok Pok Som Chinese Celery Drinking Vinegar

2 dashes lavender bitters

Soda water

Slice of pear, to garnish

Slice of ginger, to garnish

Shake first three ingredients. Strain over ice into a hurricane or highball glass; top with soda water. Garnish with one slice each ginger and pear. Cheers!

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