I think of shrubs as the cousin of sharab. It turns out there’s a reason why: today’s shrubs (vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water) are a variant of sharab, which means “syrup” or “wine” in Persian, Hindi, and Arabic. Shrubs may be the base for the trendy cocktail of the moment, but its history is ancient.
Etymology aside, this peach and bourbon shrub is my favorite version to make. Peaches go with bourbon like waffles go with fried chicken, like palm trees with California, like Kamran with Hooman. You get the point.
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds peaches
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 ounces bourbon
2 ounces lemon juice
1. Bring sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Slice peaches into medium pieces. Reserve a few pieces for serving and add remaining to pan. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain syrup into a bowl; stir in vinegar. Cover and chill shrub.
2. Set out 4 ice-filled cocktail glasses. For each cocktail, shake 2 ounces shrub, 1 1/2 ounces bourbon, and half an ounce of lemon juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until frosty. Strain into glasses and top with reserved peaches.