Real World Gardener Early Australians 19th Century Drinks in What’s Cooking

November 22nd, 2015

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Would you drink a shrub?

19th Century Kitchens

No, it’s not a plant that you have to liquidise but it’s a term to describe a type of drink that for some reason fell out of usage both here and in England, but remained in use in America.

Where does the drink shrub stem from?

So wine was considered socially acceptable to drink but not spirits like whisky and brandy.

Wine grapes were planted in Australia as early as 1788

However, cider was being made in the colony as early as 1803.

Peach cider though was more common than apple cider, just because peaches were plentiful.

Fruit was left to ferment and some old properties in Australia still have a cider press.

Most of the soft drinks that you see today came from the recipes in the kitchens of the 1800's.

But if you belonged to the temperance movement you would be drinking various cordials, barley water and shrubs, but perhaps not the apple and peach ciders.

Amongst the cordials were elderberry cordials, and raspberry vinegar cordial.

To make Raspberry Vinegar cordial you step the raspberries in cider vinegar for a few day and then add enough sugar to temper the acidic flavour.

All that's left to do now is to bottle it and over 8 - 12 months the vinegar tempers quite a bit.

This was used as a cordial base for children's drinks.

If you have any questions about drinks from old or have some information you’d like to share, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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