That Veronica Vaughn is one piece of– SPOILER ALERT! If you have never seen Billy Madison (1995) I would really hate to ruin your first viewing of it by spouting out full lines of the movie. Also, if you have not ever seen this movie, you are probably not only more intelligent than me, but you have also done a lot better than me in life in general. Cheers to you!
I, on the other hand, have seen this movie probably a dozen times… plus another dozen… and maybe another- God, I hope not, but I’m feeling really really guilty right now. Now I know how my brother felt when my mom discovered a huge duffle bag full of empty cake frosting containers in his closet- HUGE duffle bag… FULL… Pillsbury… Betty Crocker… Duncan Hines… Whipped… Vanilla… Chocolate… Sprinkles… Funfetti… He didn’t discriminate. He wasn’t the slimmest boy in elementary school.
Back to the movie- Billy Madison– The gist is this: Twenty-seven year old rich boy Billy Madison (Adam Sandler) wants to take over his father’s company. Billy’s father considers him a failure and informs Billy that the only way he graduated high school was because he paid his teachers to pass him. So, Billy goes back to school (every grade) to prove to his father that he is not the delinquent that he once was and no longer gets drunk and passes out while looking at nudie magazines all day. Billy falls in love with one of his teachers (Miss Vaughn played by Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) and you can probably, for the most part, determine the rest of the story. And yes, in real life she is married to Pete Sampras, the star tennis player.
Anyway, the movie is full of zippy one-liners, Adam Sandler baby talk, peeing pants, pickle races, flaming bags of shit (He called the shit poop!), elaborate graduation parties, O’Doyles, dancing and drinking, dodgeball and nap times, an academic decathlon, Norm McDonald and Chris Farley, and a little evil guy named Eric.
I am sorry (and proud of you) if you are not part of the demographic that once enjoyed this movie or still does. It is a very thin slice of society; and if you are a woman, you most likely broke up with this demographic of male six times in your life.***
***This statement has no factual evidence to back it, but it is most like likely true with a 2% +/ – margin of error. There is a way to test this hypothesis: Message a few boyfriends that you dumped in the past with one simple question- “What did Old Man Clemens call the shit?” (the answer is already available for you a couple paragraphs up) An even more fun way to test this is to message all your ex-boyfriends in one group text– You will be surprised how many bygones will be bygones when your phone blows up with quotes from this movie all day long. Here’s a bonus! The stupidity of the quote usually correlates with how long you dated this person.
So, yeah, Billy Madison is very one dimensional, easy to take in, and doesn’t command any of your focus- just like That Veronica Vaughn, the adult beverage. It’s slightly sweet, slightly tart, tooty fruity and bubbly, and a beautiful bright magenta. It’s easy to take in while hanging out with your friends in the sunshine and doesn’t demand any of your attention until it’s finished and you want another- it’s a session cocktail- DAMMIT! I thought I just coined this term (session cocktail) but somebody used it in 2012 to describe the summer trend of quaffable low alcohol cocktails in NYC.
The bright color in this (session) cocktail comes from a huckleberry shrub. What the heck is a shrub? I’ll just use a quote by Michael Dietsch from his book titled SHRUBS: An Old-fashoioned Drink for Modern Times…
The word shrub calls to mind a short, stemmy, woody plant, similar to a bush but maybe even a bit bushier. It also refers to a delicious vinegar-based syrup that makes any drink- alcoholic or not- more refreshing. That’s the shrub I’m talking about.
And that’s the shrub I’m talking about as well. In the simplest terms, a shrub is a syrup made out of vinegar, sugar, and fruit. It’s sweet and tangy and it tickles your tongue. It was the soft drink of our forefathers. It’s a concentrate so a little goes a long way. Add 1 oz of shrub to a tall glass of bubbly water and you have yourself a refreshing beverage.
So You Wanna Make a Shrub?
Making a shrub is super easy and satisfying. Satisfying in the sense that you accomplished something for the day- easy in the sense that you literally measured out three ingredients- and then put them in a jar. If this seems like too much work you can probably go down to your local hipster coffee roaster and just buy a shrub and soda water pre-made off their menu. While you’re at it you might as well buy a $6 piece of toast- that’s one slice mind you… of toast… just bread… put in a toaster… and I think they charge more to spread freshly mashed avocado on it- that’s right, it’s not even guacamole. Fucking hipsters.
I looked up Yelp reviews of the hipster coffee roaster in town that I was making fun of and much to my chagrin everyone raved, I mean RAVED, about their “avocado toast”. So… Good job guys? I guess I’ll pull my head out of my ass and grow my beard back.
Oh yeah, the shrub- FYI you can buy some online and have them shipped to you. My sister sent me some from Shrub & Co last year and the flavors were pretty tip-top. But here is how you can start making them at home…
Let’s say we want to make a strawberry shrub. Wash, hull and quarter, about a cup of strawberries. Put them in a bowl or jar and then put about 3/4 of a cup of sugar over them. Shake it up or stir them up and cover. I usually let this mixture sit out on the counter for few hours to overnight. At some point, most of the sugar should be incorporated into the strawberries, with them sitting in a red syrup. Add 3/4 cup of vinegar to this… whatever kind of vinegar you would like- you’ll have to experiment to find out which goes best with what- champagne vinegar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white or red wine vinegar… rice… But just put that in your strawberries and syrup and set it away for a week or so. I usually put mine in my cool basement and shake it a couple times a day. Put your’s in your fridge if you like. After that time is up just strain the solids out through a mesh sieve. I find that a coffee filter or tea strainer just clogs up, although an old french press works well. Voila! You got shrub.
So, that is the simplest of recipes and methods. That is a cold method, there is a hot method where you heat up fruit and sugar to help them incorporate each other. I’ve never tried it- to me it seems it would lose some of the fruit’s brightness (Michael Dietsch says this happens) but it doesn’t seem necessary anyway- so keep it simple.
As your “shrubbing” adventures progress you can combine fruits together, veggies, different vinegar combos- make it what you want. There are tomato shrubs, celery, pineapple, herby ones…Spicy shrubs made with hot peppers and sweet fruits are awesome. Keep in mind, the instructions I gave you above are just a starting point- if you want your shrub sweeter, add more sugar- your want more zip, add more vinegar. And then you have the internet- there are so many recipes and methods out there better explained than mine your head will spin.
1 oz 44˚ North Huckleberry Vodka
1 dash Lime Bitters (Scrappy’s or home made)
3/4 oz Huckleberry Shrub
Squeeze of half a lemon
Add all ingredients together in a shaker, shake with ice. Strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a nice bushy sprig of tarragon.
44˚ North Huckleberry Vodka is made in Idaho with potatoes from Idaho, distilled and blended on site. To anyone reading this NOT from the Pacific Northwest, (all three of you), I apologize because it may be hard for you to get huckleberries- So maybe use blueberries with a handful of cherries- I’m just making this up though- use your best judgement.
Annndddd… that’s it- sorry for such a flaccid and flabby post. I basically just swung it around in the dark hoping to hit something. I promise to turn on the lights next time, and definitely go a little deeper, and make it more emotional. For now though, I’m just gonna take a nap.