Are Shrubs the New Kombucha?

apple cider with cinnamon whiskey
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No, we're not talking about plants. A shrub is a drink that's made by fermenting fruit or vegetables with sugar and vinegar. Basically, if it grows and it's edible, you can make a shrub out of it with a little time. The result is a concentrated flavored vinegar of sorts that can be enjoyed in small sips on its own, as a sour shot of flavor in a cocktail or mixed into your favorite sparkling water for a refreshing afternoon drink. Plus, shrubs are most commonly used to help improve digestive health. Due to the promotion of shrubs by some of the nation's best bartenders, you're also likely to find craft cocktails laced with them at almost any hip bar.

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kombucha, lemons and ginger on a table
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What Are the Health Benefits of Shrubs?

In the same way that kombucha promotes gut health, so do shrubs. Due to the presence of all that good bacteria that's produced by the fermentation process, consuming shrubs can help promote balance inside your belly, giving you a solid boost of enzymes, vitamin D and probiotics — all while balancing the pH levels in your stomach.

But it's not just about gut health when it comes to shrubs. Because shrubs are commonly made with apple cider vinegar, they can also help keep your appetite under control, aid in keeping blood glucose in check, promote weight loss and even help with detoxifying your body — specifically your liver, blood and skin. Shrubs for the win!

Read more: 8 Reasons to Love Apple Cider Vinegar

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woman drinking juice
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Can You Drink Too Many Shrubs?

While there are heaps of health benefits to be gained by drinking vinegars, the acidic stuff can be really hard on your esophagus and has also been found to strip the enamel from your teeth. To avoid any of these negative side effects, refrain from drinking your shrubs straight and instead add them to water, juice or — if you're feeling like it's 5 o'clock somewhere — a cocktail. Also, like all things in life, moderation is key.

Read more: 10 Healthy Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

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bartender pouring a cocktail
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Can You Make Shrubs at Home?

Yes! Follow this recipe to experiment with making your own shrubs. Mash one cup of your favorite chopped fruits or vegetables in a jar that's been sterilized by soaking in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let all the juices mingle together in the fridge overnight. The next day, add one cup of apple cider vinegar and stir well. Let the jar rest in a cool, dark place for three to 20 days, depending on the potency you're going for: The longer it rests, the stronger and more complex the flavor.

After the resting period, strain the solids from the liquids using a cheesecloth. Discard the solids. The liquid you're left with is your shrub! Add your shrub to some water, seltzer or your favorite cocktail and enjoy! Just remember to keep it in the fridge so it lasts, and make sure to consume within six months.

Read more: The Benefits of Fermented Foods and 5 DIY Recipes

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