A Holiday Cocktail with Society Hill Society


Last month, we chatted with Paul MacDonald, head bartender at Philadelphia's Society Hill Society, about making the perfect Moscow Mule. As we began planning for holiday celebrations, we caught up with Paul again as he shared the recipe for one of his newest drinks-- a wintry cocktail called "The Gift." Light and festive, the drink pairs old-fashioned, frothy egg white with a handmade plum shrub. First popularized in colonial America, a shrub is a sweet, vinegar-based syrup infused with fruit; the simple recipe below is sure to wow holiday guests at your next cocktail party. Paul says, "This is a great winter drink because the vanilla and plum flavors have a strong Christmas association. Since it has a light, foamy texture and acidic flavor, I would suggest pairing it with a rich, savory dessert-- something like a shortbread would be perfect." Watch Paul shake up "The Gift" with our metallic barware, above, and read on for the recipe. 

The Gift
1 1/2 oz. Beefeater gin
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. rich simple syrup*
1/2 oz. red plum shrub**
6 drops vanilla extract
Egg white

Combine all above ingredients in a shaker and shake briefly with no ice. Add ice and shake again until egg white is frothy. Strain into a cocktail glass and grate fresh nutmeg on top.

*To make rich simple syrup, combine equal portions of raw sugar and tap water and heat until dissolved.

**To make red plum shrub, cut two red plums into small cubes and cover with 1 cup of white sugar. Muddle plums and sugar together until juice is fairly well extracted. Allow to sit for eight hours or longer to extract all moisture and tannin from the fruit, then add 3 oz. of red wine vinegar and heat just until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Strain through a fine mesh, cool, and keep refrigerated for up to six weeks. 

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