The beautiful thing about shrubs is that there are only two rules: something sweet and something acidic. From there, your imagination can run wild. Typically some variety of sugar does the heavy lifting, but here maple syrup offers a perfect hit of character and complexity. And although the beets maybe seem like an odd or unnecessary addition, they actually keep the sweetness in check with a welcome earthiness.
Once your shrub is ready (the longer you let it sit, the better), it’s a fantastic mixer in a variety of cocktails, including these three favorites: the Shrub Julep, the Shrubarita and the G.C.S.
Peel the beets - cut each into eight wedges, and add to a 1-quart jar along with the ginger, mustard seeds and bay leaf.
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, maple syrup and salt with 1 cup of water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour enough liquid into the prepared jar to cover the beets and let cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 weeks, shaking the jar every few days to distribute the flavors. Makes 1 quart.