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Recipe: A Lime-Free Margarita With Shrub, The Cocktail Ingredient Du Jour

Photo courtesy of Gracias Madre
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For lovers of margaritas, the recent lime shortage has been a pretty grim situation. Cases of Mexican limes are now selling for an average of $100 per case, up from $14 a case previously, affecting restaurants and bars that use the limes to make margaritas and guacamole.

Bartenders across the country are coping with the situation in varying ways -- from completely 86ing cocktails that require the citrus to creating workarounds that utilize other acidic fruits.

Over at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, Beverage Director Jason Eisner is using shrub to balance out his cocktails. A shrub is a fruit and vinegar maturation that was originally used during Provincial times to preserve fruit.

Shrub can be mixed with soda water over ice for a nonalcoholic sip, or spiked for a delicious, refreshing cocktail. If you're into the flavor of kombucha, you'll totally dig the delightful refreshing flavor.

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Eisner shared his recipe for shrub and the Belleza Margarita, a carbonated cocktail that you can sip during the heat wave or Cinco De Mayo, sans limes.

Here's how it's done.

La Belleza Margarita


2oz Organic Highland Tequila Blanco
.75oz Strawberry Basil Balsamic Shrub (see below)
.5oz Lemon Juice
1oz Rose Wine
Basil leaf and a strawberry for garnish

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Add all ingredients into a shaker, shake, and strain into a single rocks glass. Add one large rock. Garnish with a leaf of basil and one strawberry, sliced and placed on the rim off the glass.

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Shrub:

2 cups of Strawberries hulled and cut into quarters
2 cups of Organic Sugar
1 cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup of Organic Balsamic Vinegar

Combine the strawberries and sugar and mash them together with a potato masher to release some of the juice from the strawberries. Store the mixture in the fridge overnight. On day 2, add the entire mixture to a mason jar, along with the vinegar and macerate once more. Seal the mason jar and let sit refrigerated for one week. When ready, strain out the fruit pulp using a fine mesh strainer. Then go ahead and jar your shrub.