Villa San Ignacio | Hotel near San Jose and Alajuela | Costa Rica

Let’s Go Shrubbing


Looking for an inventive way to cocktail? Try shrubbing.

A shrub is a vinegar-based beverage that tastes sour, tart, or tangy – delightfully fresh flavors that wake up your palate. Like many of our favorite drinks the shrub has a colorful origin story, dating back to colonial pirates. To avoid detection by privateers, these rum smuggling scallywags would sink their barrels underwater. After seawater leaked through the porous vessels, tainting the alcohol, the pirates learned to add fresh fruit and juices to the mixture, which would ferment and sweeten the salty rum. The saltwater had a surprising benefit: it was acidic enough to preserve the fruit and prevent it from spoiling on long sea voyages. By the 17th century, vinegars had replaced saltwater as a popular choice for preserving fruits and berries and the leftover liquid was saved as a sweet drinking vinegar. Vinegars were also combined with water, soda water or alcohol – arrrrr, tasty and refreshing!

At Pandora Restaurant, we’re using shrubs for more than just cocktails. We start with a mixture of pineapple, organic cane sugar, and cider vinegar, cook it until it’s reduced to a shrub. Our shrub is the star of our featured cocktail, a sweetener in our homemade BBQ sauce, and a base in our Herb Chicken marinade.

Shrub Rum Cocktail | $4
Agua de Pipa, Flor de Cana, Malibu rum, and lime, sweetened with our pineapple shrub

Herb Chicken Breast | $10
Marinated in olive oil, garlic, and pineapple shrub, pan-fried with an herb crust, served with hand cut roasted potatoes and mixed green salad

Look for more shrubs as the seasons change, including passion fruit ginger, star fruit honey cardamom, mango basil and other future delights.