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Photos: R. Lopez

Summer Means Shrubs for These D.C. Bars and Shops

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A new cocktail ingredient is showing up at several area bars this summer: shrubs. Also known as drinking vinegars, they were developed as a way for colonists to help preserve bountiful harvests of fruit, by combining fruit juice with sugar and vinegar.

For some the tang of shrubs is an acquired taste. But for others the astringency is a refreshing palate cleanser. Mixed with club soda, they make for a perfect light summery drink. But they also do well with a splash of booze. Here are some places to purchase shrubs to enjoy at home, or to try them out on the town.
—Jamie Liu


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. GBD (Golden Brown Delicious)

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1323 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 524-5210
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You might not be able to get apple cider donuts at GBD, but you can get their apple shrub based cocktail, Shrub it Off. The shrub is paired with Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard Gin, which is distilled from wheat and apples.

2. The Gibson

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2009 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 232-2156
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Though The Gibson is not named after the cocktail, they do feature a version of the original Gibson (6 parts gin and 1 part vermouth garnished with an onion) called The Gibson Gibson. Their version is a mix of Bols Aged Genever and a red onion shrub.

3. H Mart

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10780 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 273-0570
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Drinking vinegars have become really popular in Asia for assumed health benefits, like aiding digestion, and increasing the sensation of fullness to help dieters. At H Mart you can pick up a variety of flavors, including pomegranate, blueberry, and apple.

4. Range

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5335 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 803-8020
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Range features a variety of house made sodas on the menu, including mango, cranberry, and ginger. But most interesting is the pineapple shrub, which is included in the barrel-aged cocktail Wonder of Neglect with gin and carpano antica. This aging process intensifies the tang of the shrub, as would have occurred in Colonial times.

5. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 244-7995
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Ripple features a shrub-based cocktail that is a nod to Greek mythology. Persephone in the Underworld combines bourbon and fernet branca with a pomegranate balsamic shrub. Or try a non-alcoholic mix of pomegranate, balsamic and ginger with a Bitter Betsy.

6. Salt & Sundry

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 556-1866
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Amanda McClements' Salt & Sundry always has the best new products. Along with other cocktail ingredients, her store features Liber & Co's Texas grapefruit shrub, and recently started carrying Shrub & Co's tart apple, spicy ginger, and grapefruit shrubs.

7. Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co.

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2118 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 986-7332
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Smucker Farms sells produce and food products from Pennsylvania, and they feature Tait Farm's shrubs. Tait Farm started making shrubs in the late 80s, two decades before they became popular. You can pick up a wide variety of flavors including raspberry, cranberry, ginger, and lemon.

8. Radius Pizza

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3155 Mount Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 234-0202
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This Mount Pleasant pizza joint makes its own shrubs in flavors such as pear for cocktails and punch bowls, and also sells them on Saturdays at the nearby neighborhood farmer's market.

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1. GBD (Golden Brown Delicious)

1323 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20036
You might not be able to get apple cider donuts at GBD, but you can get their apple shrub based cocktail, Shrub it Off. The shrub is paired with Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard Gin, which is distilled from wheat and apples.
1323 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036

2. The Gibson

2009 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20003
Though The Gibson is not named after the cocktail, they do feature a version of the original Gibson (6 parts gin and 1 part vermouth garnished with an onion) called The Gibson Gibson. Their version is a mix of Bols Aged Genever and a red onion shrub.
2009 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20003

3. H Mart

10780 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030
Drinking vinegars have become really popular in Asia for assumed health benefits, like aiding digestion, and increasing the sensation of fullness to help dieters. At H Mart you can pick up a variety of flavors, including pomegranate, blueberry, and apple.
10780 Fairfax Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030

4. Range

5335 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015
Range features a variety of house made sodas on the menu, including mango, cranberry, and ginger. But most interesting is the pineapple shrub, which is included in the barrel-aged cocktail Wonder of Neglect with gin and carpano antica. This aging process intensifies the tang of the shrub, as would have occurred in Colonial times.
5335 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20015

5. Ripple

3417 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Ripple features a shrub-based cocktail that is a nod to Greek mythology. Persephone in the Underworld combines bourbon and fernet branca with a pomegranate balsamic shrub. Or try a non-alcoholic mix of pomegranate, balsamic and ginger with a Bitter Betsy.
3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

6. Salt & Sundry

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Amanda McClements' Salt & Sundry always has the best new products. Along with other cocktail ingredients, her store features Liber & Co's Texas grapefruit shrub, and recently started carrying Shrub & Co's tart apple, spicy ginger, and grapefruit shrubs.
1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co.

2118 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Smucker Farms sells produce and food products from Pennsylvania, and they feature Tait Farm's shrubs. Tait Farm started making shrubs in the late 80s, two decades before they became popular. You can pick up a wide variety of flavors including raspberry, cranberry, ginger, and lemon.
2118 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

8. Radius Pizza

3155 Mount Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010
This Mount Pleasant pizza joint makes its own shrubs in flavors such as pear for cocktails and punch bowls, and also sells them on Saturdays at the nearby neighborhood farmer's market.
3155 Mount Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010

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