Blog IV. Pushing the Limits of Shrubs 

In our discussions of shrubs, we have confined this unique combination of vinegar, sugar and natural fruit and vegetable flavors to mixology.

However, the uses range far beyond. For example, in articles such as “Drinking Vinegars Refreshing and Fruity,” (The Spokesman-Review, July 23, 2014), we learn that shrubs are finding their way into salad dressings, marinades, dessert toppings and glazes.

There is research that is showing that shrubs are better than other drinks at stimulating salivation and that shrubs are also considered to be good digestive aids after a heavy meal (“Sour Times: Shrubs Aren’t Just for Gardens Anymore,” Orlando Weekly, September 2014). Both of these points demand a bit more detail, especially for savvy product development teams.

Click here to view Part 3: Shrub Cocktail Trends Across the U.S.

Click here to view Part 2: Trending at the Bar - Shrubs

Click here to view Part 1: Bitters & Shrubs Return to the Cocktail World

For example, imagine a line of salad dressings that are not only delicious but refreshing in the summertime; imagine a glaze made with a shrub that is not only good tasting but helps aid in the digestion of that Thanksgiving turkey or pork roast. On a more serious side, tens of thousands of Americans have been treated for salivary cancers and thousands more for all kinds of salivary problems including “dry mouth.” It may be worth exploring a whole class of beverages to stimulate salivation.

Recipes abound for balsamic vinegar ice cream and vinegar gelato, why not the development of a product line of frozen desserts infused with shrubs? Pushing the dairy envelope even further, there are now cheeses paired with shrubs. Is it possible to combine the best of shrubs with cheeses or yogurts to aid in digestion?

Shrub Bars

In a prior blog, we discussed the rise of shrub bars, or vinegar bars in many countries such as Japan. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sushi Encyclopedia, Asia-Pacific Journal, from 2010 – 2014, sushi consumption increased by 28 percent in the U.S. nearly 4,200 sushi restaurants with annual revenues of $2 billion. The website, initially identified (July 2009) that:

“Gen Yers …in contrast to other cohorts, also include healthier foods, including sushi and fruits, among their favorite comfort foods.”

It is also Millennials or Gen Y, who are fascinated by shrubs. Part of the reason for this fascination relate to the health benefits of vinegars. Millennials tend to be more driven by health than any other living generation.

However, as opposed to Japanese shrub favorites such as the bitter Yuzu fruit (a type of citrus), our research has identified popular flavors among Millennials such as  Citrus zest, Bay leaves, Basil, Tarragon, Rosewater, Lavender, Mint, Cardamom and Cinnamon as having strong appeal.

If flavored vodka is so popular now, why not a line of shrub infused vodkas or other liquors? The shrub or the sipping vinegar, while not a new category, is one that has been largely abandoned. We feel it is ready for a resurgence, but in many new and unique forms.

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