Charlie Berkinshaw, who grew up in Annapolis, MD, started Element [Shrub] a few years ago when he and his wife were pregnant with their first child.
While pregnant, his wife was craving a drink with the complexity of a cocktail, that was made with real ingredients, and didn’t have a ton of sugar but couldn’t find any good non-alcoholic alternatives on the market.
At the time, Charlie and his wife were working with a group that foraged local fruit in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One day, after harvesting 400 pounds of crabapples, they were looking for new recipes for their bounty and came across the concept of shrubs: a way in which fruit was preserved during the colonial days using vinegar and sugar.
After adding the shrub to some sparkling water, the result was a drink that satisfied every aspect of my wife’s craving. The vinegar added savory notes to the fruit and spices to create a flavor that was complex and refreshing. We were so taken with our concoction that we were inspired to experiment with other combinations to create a product that is truly unique and wholesome enough to drink every day.
After selling “traditional” shrubs (they you dilute with seltzer, spirits for cocktails or olive oil) they have launched a line of ready-to-drink, carbonated shrub “sodas” that are incredibly refreshing.
Now, they have got two kids and live in Arlington, VA. We are excited to share their creations with you, and hope you enjoy them as much as we do!