No visit to New York's Hudson Valley is complete without a trip to Hudson Wine Merchants, where the unprecedented selection is matched only by the knowledge of their staff and the reliability of their recommendations. On our most recent visit, CH was pleased to learn that the shop also sells their own handcrafted local bitters and shrubs (a syrupy sister to bitters, invoking vinegar) under the label The Hudson Standard. While both iterations—Spiced Apple Bitters and Pear Honey Ginger Shrubs—wow the palate, we fell in love with the latter for its unique profile: simple yet surprisingly full and less concentrated than the bitters. There are just five ingredients within (organic apple cider vinegar, pears, organic sugar, honey and organic ginger) and the bulk of them are locally sourced from Hudson Valley farmers.
Bitters and shrubs have traditionally been used as additives for cocktails (not to mention their medicinal history) but a touch of The Hudson Standard Shrubs, which contains no alcohol content at all, added to a bit of seltzer makes for a tasty virgin alternative. The Hudson Valley pears open beautifully, mingling with local honey and ginger and supporting the apple cider vinegar. It's both tart and lightly sweet, lending a dynamic taste that could accent many beverages, salad dressings and just about any other food exploration.
The Hudson Standard Shrubs is available online for $15 for a 250ml bottle.
Photos by David Graver