Pineapple fennel shrub syrup drinking vinegar is a deliciously balanced syrup that counterpoises the sweetness and acidity of pineapple with the freshness and anise zest of fennel, preserved with sugar, coconut vinegar, spices and tea, delicious with fizzy water or in a margarita. Making your own shrub syrup or drinking vinegar for drinks and cocktails allows you freedom to experiment with flavours and find new and delicious flavour pairings that work to bring out the features of base spirits or mixers and to finely tune the balance between sweet and sour elements.
~Pineapple flavour pairings: fennel, spice and tea
I read about the pairing of pineapple with fennel in Niki Segnit’s (2010) Flavour thesaurus. It seems unlikely but is actually very delicious – the sweetness and tartness of the pineapple is counterbalanced by the freshness and aromatic aniseed kick of the fennel. Pineapple fennel shrub syrup is spiced with star anise, black pepper, fennel seeds, cinnamon, allspice and matcha tea and is made with low GI cane sugar and coconut vinegar by a long cold infusion process, following Dietsch (2016) in Shrubs. I was inspired to make this pineapple fennel shrub syrup with matcha as an ingredient after reading recipes of old fashioned punches in articles by cocktail historian David Wondrich that included tea as a key ingredient to spice the punch, along with other spices, most notably nutmeg and mace. Matcha is a great pairing for pineapple that works so well with tequila where the grassiness and freshness of the base spirit are brought to the fore by the sweetness of the pineapple and the freshness of fennel with the sweet almost vanilla like flavour of the matcha.
~Method of shrub making: cold process long infusion
I have followed Dietsch’s (2016) method for dealing with pineapple in Shrubs by mashing and long cold infusion, but the inclusion of fennel and the spice mix is my own creation. The sweetness of pineapple and the freshness of fennel work beautifully with the grassy sweet notes of tequila in a margarita and are incredibly refreshing with fizzy water due to the coconut vinegar.
~Tips for making your own pineapple fennel shrub syrup: well muddled ripe pineapple
To make the best pineapple shrub it’s crucial to use a ripe pineapple. The soft and sweeter ripe pineapple is easier to mash with a muddler to release the juices and sugars required for the maceration to create the syrup. The fennel needs to be finely chopped and then muddled along with the pineapple. I left my mashed pineapple and fennel to infuse with the sugar and spices overnight and by the next day a thick syrup had formed. This syrup is then strained and combined with coconut vinegar. If a cloudy sediment forms in the shrub, simply give it a shake.
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Pineapple fennel shrub syrupPrint Recipe
- 125 grams very well mashed ripe pineapple
- 125 grams fennel bulb, finely minced and muddled together with the pineapple
- 125 grams Low GI raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon allspice berries
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon matcha tea
- 125 grams coconut vinegar
Mash pineapple very well with a muddling stick in a clean container
Finely chop fennel bulb and add to the pineapple, muddle together well
Add the hard spices, matcha and sugar and combine well
Seal the container with a clean lid and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, until there is evidence of the formation of a thick syrup
Sterilise jars – see Resources
When the syrup has formed strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container and pour over the coconut vinegar, so it passes through the ingredients and the sieve
Decant into your sterilised jars and refrigerate for up to one week
The method for this recipe is inspired by Pineapple-Coconut Shrub in Michael Dietsch (2016: 1307) Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times (Second Edition) The Countryman Press, Norton: New York.
The addition of fennel and spice mix are my own creation inspired by Niki Segnit (2010). The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook Bloomsbury: USA.
~Shrubs history & recipes
Michael Dietsch (2016). Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times (Second Edition) The Countryman Press, Norton: New York.
~Online shrubs recipes & resources