Grogs, Nogs, juleps, shrubs, blushes, sours, coolers—nothing betrays the South’s rich and diverse ethnic heritage like the array of intriguing names applied to many of our alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. A shrub is always made with some form of berry or berry juice and can be hot or cold, plain or spiced, sweet or slightly tart. During the winter holidays, this particular shrub would be served with shortbread or pound cake at an informal afternoon social.
Wrap the cracked cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon in cheesecloth and tie securely. In a large enameled pot, combine the cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, and the prepared spice packet, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the packet and serve the shrub in mugs or heavy Old-Fashioned glasses garnished with a cinnamon stick.
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