Squash & Sorghum

Brad Langdon, The Dabney | Washington, D.C.

The main cooking method at the Dabney? Live fire. (The hearth was constructed by chef-owner Jeremiah Langhorne’s father and brother.) Inevitably, roasted fruits and vegetables find their ways into beverage director Brad Langdon’s cocktails, but in the case of this butternut squash shrub, it’s the squash juice that gets cooked. This step takes a raw, almost potato-y liquid and turns it into something rich and toasty with a beautifully rusty color. Paired with a watercress salad or roasted pork, this makes for a great fall meal.

Reprinted with permission from Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason by Julia Bainbridge, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces Squash and Sorghum Shrub (see Editor's Note)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Squash and Sorghum Shrub (see Editor's Note)
  • 4 ounces soda water
  • 4 ounces soda water

  1. Place one large ice cube in a rocks glass. Pour in the shrub, then top with the soda water.
Editor's Note

Squash and Sorghum Shrub:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into large cubes
8 whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
2 ounces apple cider vinegar
2 1⁄2 ounces sorghum molasses

Juice the butternut squash, then fine-strain into an airtight container and discard the solids. Let the juice sit in the fridge overnight, so that the starch settles to the bottom of the container. The next day, pour the juice into a fresh container, leaving behind the starch. You should have just over 11⁄2 cups of squash juice.

In a small saucepan combine the juice and the black peppercorns. Simmer over low heat, then cook until the juice has reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, vinegar, molasses, and 11⁄2 ounces water. Let cool, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and discard the solids.
Store the shrub in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Note: Removing or at least reducing the starch is VERY important; if you don’t, the juice becomes yogurt-like in consistency as soon as you add even the slightest amount of heat. If you can’t find sorghum molasses, maple syrup is a fine alternative.