NylonThis summer when I was in Hudson, New York, I ended up in the very popular Rivertown Tavern for dinner. And while the seasonal, then-Mexican-inspired menu (inspiration rotates monthly) was mention-worthy, it was the cocktail I drank that stuck with me after the night ended. A concoction of gin, tonic, and strawberry-rhubarb shrub, it was equal parts tart and sweet, fruity and refreshing, the perfect drink for summer. After buying the shrub that I assumed the cocktail was made from—The Hudson Standard in strawberry-rhubarb—in a home store next-door to the restaurant, and recreating the drink many times at home since then, I can confirm: It’s the best drink I had all summer—and the shrub has everything to do with it. Read more »

ChronogramMade with a blend of fruit, spices, vinegar, and sweetener, shrubs are tart syrups that have been part of the classic American cocktail lexicon since Colonial times. Before globalization made fruit available year round, these drinking vinegars were a common method of preserving the flavors of summer. Read more »

bon-appetitA summer cocktail plays by different rules. It needs to be pretty simple—you’re not playing mixologist in your swimsuit—but more impressive than a bucket of beers. It should be refreshing enough to stand up to the heat and—like a good work outfit—be able to go from day to night. Picture farmstand-fueled syrups, beachy elixirs over mountains of ice, and splashy three-ingredient sparklers. Enter the shrub, the swizzle, and the spritz, our cocktails of the season. Read more »

hudson-valleyAt any good bar, along with the array of homemade syrups, small, dark bottles that look as if they belong in a medicine cabinet will be on display. These are bitters, a blend of herbs, spices, roots, barks, and flowers that are often a cocktail’s finishing touch. A pre-Prohibition staple dispensed for their purported curative properties, bitters create much-sought-after balance and complexity. Here are a few locally made renditions: Read more »

Shrubs are homey drinking vinegars, tonics in the general sense of things consumed to invigorate. You can sip them straight, I suppose, though most people add fizzy water, or booze, or both. A friend of mine (Modern Farmer’s Jesse Hirsch, who used to live in San Francisco but now roams Hudson, New York) sent me this shrub a couple of weeks ago, a Pear Honey Ginger one from The Hudson Standard. It’s fantastic, sharp and sweet, with musky pear perfume and a peppery ginger burn. I mixed it 2-to-1 with bourbon and sipped over ice. Turned into a lovely afternoon. Read more »

Savour local flavor with a bottle of The Hudson Standard’s handmade ‘shrub’ – a syrup infused with local fruits and spices. The chic bottle will be right at home on a bar cart and its contents will elevate any tipple. Read more »

No visit to New York’s Hudson Valley is complete without a trip to Hudson Wine Merchants, where the unprecedented selection is matched only by the knowledge of their staff and the reliability of their recommendations. On our most recent visit, CH was pleased to learn that the shop also sells their own handcrafted local bitters and shrubs (a syrupy sister to bitters, invoking vinegar) under the label The Hudson Standard. Read more »

We’ve become somewhat obsessed with shrubs – high quality cocktail syrups – here over the past few months. So, naturally, we were pretty stoked when we got word that a group of people based in Hudson, New York was coming out with a collection of small batch, locally-sourced bitters and shrubs for cocktails and cooking. Read more »

Editor’s Note: Discovering Hudson Wine Merchants one day in Hudson, New York was a real eye-opener. So many interesting bottles. So many intriguing producers from so many world regions. From the well-curated shelves, it was obvious this shop was owned by people who, not only know what they’re doing, but are WAY into it. Enjoy our conversation with Michael Albin, co-owner of Hudson Wine Merchants. Read more »

Above the Hudson Wine Merchants, co-owner Marianne Courville stands behind a heavy farmhouse table topped with an assortment of bottles and jars, a serious mortar and pestle beside her, and a container of juniper berries and vinegar. She pours a splash of recently brewed pear, honey and ginger mixture called a shrub into a glass of seltzer. After that revelation is sipped, she offers a thimbleful of her hand-crafted ginger bitters. Read more »