1. (n.) A vinegar-based syrup used as a mixer. From the Arabic word sharab, meaning “to drink,” these acidic concoctions have roots in the 18th century, when colonialists in the United States would preserve seasonal fruits and berries in a vinegar-sugar solution. Commonly mixed with soda water or alcohol, the drink gained in popularity in the 19th century, but soon faded from the collective consciousness until their recent revival via the cocktail renaissance. Today, bartenders across the United States are experimenting with unique infusions, both sweet and savory, to make bases for, cocktails, palate cleansers and non-alcoholic sodas.
2. (n.) A fruit-infused spirit. Both the ancestor to the vinegar-based shrub and the descendant of the cordial, this 17th-century English tradition of soaking fruits and berries in a spirit, usually rum or brandy, was a popular ingredient in the punches of the era.