What you’re drinking: One of Missoula-based Shivelight Premium Beverage Company’s shrubs. I chose the Flathead Cherry shrub, but Bitterroot Apple & Cinnamon and Huckleberry are also available.

What’s a shrub? It’s vinegar you drink. A shrub can be either a drink made with a flavored vinegar-based syrup, or the syrup itself. Mix a shrub with booze for a cocktail—either in small amounts as a flavoring or by the ounce as a mixer—or with fizzy water for a flavored soda.

shivelight shrub

How do you serve it? Shivelight was serving cocktails and sodas made with its shrubs at this year’s Indy Sip, and the Flathead Cherry was my favorite of the trio. I bought a bottle to make vinegary cherry sodas at home. The bottle suggests one part shrub to seven parts sparkling water for a soda, and I basically just eyeballed the amount in a glass. It makes for a tart and fruity beverage—a nice change if you don’t like sickly-sweet sodas. There are several cocktail recipes on Shivelight’s website, and my drinking partner made the Antique, a drink composed of the shrub, bourbon and bitters. “A good alternative to a whisky sour,” was his verdict, though he suspects it might work better with vodka or rum. I’d bet the Apple & Cinnamon would make a cozy fit with whiskey and probably a nice addition to a toddy.

What’s “Shivelight”? It’s “Old English for the rays of sun that pierce a forest canopy,” according to the company’s website. Shivelight shrubs are made by pressing fruit with Montana honey, then adding raw apple cider vinegar.

Where do you get it? The Good Food Store and Grizzly Liquor, or online at shivelightbeverage.com. $12 for an 8 oz. bottle. Shivelight will also be available at the MADE Fair on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Adams Center.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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