Chimera Shrubs brings a product to the area that’s healthy, versatile, and a little unusual: drinking vinegars.
Arie Vandenberg, co-owner of Chimera Shrubs with his wife, Mercy Mabalot, explains: “We make artisanal beers, wines, and mead melomels that we convert to vinegar. The drinking vinegar is lightly sweetened so that it will add flavor, complexity, and dimension to any craft soda, cocktail, mocktail, and culinary dish.”
Chimera Shrubs features a variety of flavors ranging from Honey Lemon Bee Stinger to Ginger Lemongrass Shrub. Vandenberg says, “Ginger Lemongrass is our most popular flavor, followed by Peachy Keen, Hibiscus Honey, and Honey Lemon Bee Stinger.” Each vinegar has distinctive flavor notes, he says. “We add peppers in our vinegars that provide a subtle spicy back note, as well as additional health benefits.”
Vandenberg is constantly tinkering with new and seasonal flavors; when these experimental microbatches are well received, he adds them to the next production cycle.
Drinking vinegars were popular in Colonial America and have been making their way into the modern cocktail world. Northside bar and taproom Urban Artifact was an early adopter. “They were one of our first customers and have been using Chimera in craft cocktails,” Vandenberg says. “Other restaurants are experimenting with the drinking vinegars right now, so we will see what happens.”
Chimera Shrubs will soon be releasing a line of bitters, with flavors like Chocolate Black Walnut with Ancho, Fig Sour Cherry with Ghost, Berry Fusion, and Lime, to enhance drinks and dishes of all kinds. “We want to raise consumer awareness of what drinking vinegars are,” says Vandenberg, “We hope to have Chimera placed in small retail shops and natural food stores in the region.
Find it at: Findlay Market Biergarten (weekends only), The Party Source, Urban Artifact, Ohio Valley Food Connection