Episode #010 – Not those kind of shrubs with Colonial Shrubs
In this episode of Florida’s Food and Brew Network we visit with Colonial Shrubs. Owned by Tony Zook and his wife Leah, we had a great time learning all about shrubs. This item has an old history and is starting to make a come back in many bars and kitchens.
Below we have provided some show notes to follow along with if you would like. Besides hosting our podcast here on the website, we also have it streaming on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and Tune In.
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5:33 – I get yelled out for tasting the shrubs before we get started.
6:20 – We get to know Tony and Leah a little bit. Where they started and what brought them to Florida. They both are working full time but this is Tony’s dream business and hopefully his future full time.
8:00 – Why shrubs? Leah was diagnosed with Lupus and after extensive research they found inflammation due to processed foods causing issues. Researching shrubs made with apple cider vinegar they were led to a new healthy journey.
9:21 – What is a shrub? Simply it is a fruit syrup preserved with vinegar. Three simple ingredients include organic fruit, cane sugar, and apple cider vinegar. This is actually is an original way of preserving fruit before refrigeration.
10:05 – Interestingly the smell is a bit strong with vinegar but the flavor of vinegar does not take over the taste. It is actually quite enjoyable to drink. Trying out the lemon shrub we could get a little acidity but the vinegar almost seemed non-existant.
11:05 – Learn the history of shrubs from Tony. Interesting how far this method of preservation goes back. Tony is a big history buff. He loves not only the history of the product but also the simplicity of it.
12:25 – Apple Cider Vinegar has tons of health benefits. Things like reduced blood sugar, inflammation, indigestion, and heart burn to name a few. Leah is a daily user of these and has found a huge decrease in her health issues because of this.
13:26 – What is the mother? The mother is the good bacteria pro-biotics in the raw vinegar.
14:20 – Tony goes into the process of making shrubs.
15:45 – There is a lot of ways to use shrubs. Add it to your water, club soda, or whatever else you like. Most popular way is using it as a mixer in cocktails or in soda streams. Tony loves it in salad dressings or on top of ice cream.
17:26 – Another product they make is call “Swiggs.” Very similar to a Kombucha but it is definitely not as harsh. Coco is not a Kombucha drinker but I am. Yet it can weigh you down whereas the Swigg seemed very light and refreshing.
18:55 – While called a syrup it is different. Many are unaware of what a shrub is but syrup is something that draws people’s attention.
19:58 – Colonial Shrubs offers a lot of different flavors and the neat thing about shrubs in general is how versatile they can be. However, some things can be harder to use more than others due to the vinegar. Tony is constantly checking PH and testing to make sure the flavors are good. Takes a lot of experimentation.
22:00 – Every Saturday Colonial Shrubs is at the St. Pete Market. Along with this Tony tells of the many places you can find their wonderful product.
Growth of Shrubs
23:35 – Over the year and a half, Tony has seen some positive growth. More and more people seem to be learning about shrubs in general so the market is growing.
24:37 – We start trying a few flavors. They are very happy to let you try everything in order to make sure you like it before you buy it.
25:38 – It is recommended to refrigerate it at all times to hold off fermentation. Interestingly though, these have a great shelf life.
27:04 – Tony explains the easiest way to use these in cocktails. One of the ways its used at EnRich is their Colonial Apple Pie with Colonials Honey Crisp Apple with cinnamon syrup and Bourbon. Leah loves the Key Lime Martini with Colonial’s Lime Syrup, Vanilla Vodka, and Graham Cracker rim. Yum!
28:26 – There is a good sweetness when mixing and the vinegar never really hits you in the face.
29:37 – Leah drinks a full Swigg every day or at least 1 oz of syrup with 32 oz of water every day. This is a simple and healthy way to avoid medicine.
30:45 – They do the best they can to keep almost everything year round. Over time they have been able to make larger batches and they have found that some people are die hard for certain flavors.
32:25 – Initially many people are stand offish because of the vinegar. But once you convince them that the vinegar is not the main flavor, they love it.
Thanks for listening!
We had a great time visiting with Tony and Leah Zook of Colonial Shrubs. If you liked the show, please don’t forget to leave us a review on your favorite player. Every 5 star review we get is a huge help in helping others to find us and helps us to keep going.
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