You may have seen mixologist Gabriella Mlynarczyk behind the bar at Ink, where's she's been working for almost two years. Before that, she was behind the bar at the now-shuttered Eva in mid-town. You may have even tasted one of her cocktails made with shrubs, maybe her gin cocktail with beet and opal basil shrub finished with a dose of sparkling rosé.
The drinking vinegars actually go back to colonial times in this country. And if you're as intrigued with shrubs as she is, sign up for the shrubs class she'll be teaching Nov. 24 at Bar & Garden in Culver City. Limited to 20, the class runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and costs $80 per person.
What will you learn? Something of the history of the drinking vinegars. Says Mlynarczyk, “We’re going to learn cold maceration. I’m not such a fan of cooked shrubs because the freshness tends to disappear.”
She's thinking a beet lemon shrub, some kind of berry or fruit shrub and maybe an apple or apple and fennel version. She also wants to do a citrus shrub, zesting the citrus, adding it to a simple syrup and turning it into a shrub with a dose of Champagne vinegar.
How did she get ever get into shrubs?
Mlynarczyk confesses that as a child, she was always stealing the juice from jars of pickles as a child. “I just have this taste for tart, acidic drinks and have always added little bits of vinegar to plain sodas. If you add a touch of cider vinegar, the soda tastes less cloying.
"You can use a shrub in place of citrus or citrus acid in a stirred cocktail," she says. And if you’re making a cocktail that involves shaking, the shrub will remain clear.
She's actually written a longish piece on shrubs for her drinks blog Loving Cup. She started the blog as a creative outlet from her job, but now work is so intense, she says, it's hard to find time to do the writing. Have a look at what's she done. Loving Cup is an entertaining and smart read about cocktail culture.
For more information or to sign up for the class, contact Bar & Garden at (310) 876-0759. And if you don't know the Culver City wine and spirits store, you definitely should. It's a great source for unusual wines, hard-to-find mezcal, small batch spirits, Japanese bartending tools and more.