Most conversations about shrubs go like this.
“Wait, like the green bushy things that grow in the ground?”
“No, it’s a drink.”
“A leafy drink?”
“No, it’s actually just three ingredients — fruit, sugar, and vinegar…”
“Wait, you drink vinegar? Why would you drink vinegar?”
“Well, we love sour things like lemon and lime in drinks, they complement sweet flavors…”
“So there’s booze in this?”
“… Sometimes. Sometimes it’s just a soda.”
“Well, that sounds nice.”
[Note: They are being polite.]
Vinegar — basically what grapes turn into once they age past wine, see my fridge door at any time for an example — has been around since ancient times, as has the concept of drinking vinegars. Vinegar was used to sterilize unclean water, and was consumed in biblical times when wine was forbidden. Later in England, it was used to preserve fruit and Colonial Americans took the technique over with them. Pouring some of vinegar off the fruit and mixing it with things like soda, wine, or booze makes for some delicious drinks, far more complex than your average lemonade. But please don’t mistake me for an expert on shrubs, however; everything I know I learned from this fantastic book.