Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days.
A proper shrub has a flavor that’s both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst. The advent of industrially processed foods and home refrigeration combined to nearly eliminate the shrub from American foodways. Only family traditions, Colonial-themed establishments (such as City Tavern in Philadelphia), and a few holdout farms (Tait Farms, for one) have helped the shrub survive.
—Shrubs! Not just tiny bushes, it turns out. Also fruity and tart syrups you can make at home. This primer from Michael Dietsch at Serious Eats seems super simple and also super delicious and did I mention super simple? It seems within the realm of my skill and energy level, and I find making coffee cumbersome. Ingredients: Berries, sugar, vinegar, love (JK, you can skip the love).