Meredyth Archer cherishes memories of drinking sweet fruit vinegars with her maternal Grandmother, who insisted it was a panacea for anything that ailed you! In fact, she and her siblings would stay with her when they were sick. She promoted food as medicine, loading them up with not only vinegar but garlic, ginger and other home remedies. Meredyth said it did make her a believer and humorously added, “It helped to balance me from being a child of 70s era convenience foods and corn syrup, like Eggos!”
Meredyth began exploring the idea of bringing her Grandmother’s beloved drinking vinegar, or “shrub,” to the community. Just like her Grandmother, her recipes start with apple cider vinegar (made with a mother!) as the base. Meredyth adds her own ideas for fresh, organic non-GMO ingredients. A collection of vintage cookbooks provides additional inspiration for her creations. Coming from a long line of strong women and a welcoming home always full of people, her children describe her as everyone’s Mom. “MOTHER Shrub” was a logical choice for the name of the business she officially started in 2015. Plus, her husband and three adult children insisted upon it! Her first product was a Cranberry Shrub, followed by Black Cherry, Grapefruit, Salted Honey, and Ginger. She still keeps the ingredients simple and natural with a perfect balance of tart and sweet.
The five years have flown by! Meredyth is grateful for the community support, articles and awards she’s received since taking the leap. She’s proud of the perseverance behind pursuing a product she believed in and taking advantage of opportunities for growth. Her husband’s support has been critical. He not only provides production help but he’s the artistic mastermind behind the labels and recipes that are a perfect complement to her products. You can find her shrubs in local shops like Good Foods Grocery, Stella’s Markets and Perk and even at the New York Botanical Garden! Meredyth loves collaborating with local businesses and distilleries to create special cocktails and custom shrub flavors. She’s also joined forces with AR’s Hot Southern Honey to make a salted honey shrub and a carrot shrub! Creative and delicious!
Farmers markets are where Meredyth feels at home and embraced by the community. Market customers have reported relief from many ailments – digestive discomfort, muscle cramps, sore throats and osteoarthritis. All agree they are a fool-proof drink mixer! Two or three ingredients is all it takes to make a simple delicious cocktail or mocktail. Check out Mother Shrub recipes for non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage ideas. Use as a mixer with hard cider, seltzer, cocktails, and even beer, champagne, and wine. Meredyth’s favorites include tequila with lime or grapefruit shrub and a mint julep with black cherry shrub. She sums up the allure of her drinking vinegars by stating, “It’s for the curious. The taste is something familiar but also unexpected.” Pick up a couple of flavors and get creative with shrubs that add a welcome fresh, sweet and tangy zip!