The Hudson Standard Team: (left to right) Anja Rothe, Marianne Courville, Emily Woerthman.
Nowadays, you can’t go to any reputable locavore/foodie hot spot without seeing a “shrub” or “bitter”-infused cocktail (or “mocktail”) on the bar menu. We are in the midst of the renaissance of an English-adopted American colonial pastime.
You can thank The Hudson Standard, among many other New York (and West Coast) tastemakers, for reviving these 18th & 19th century traditions. The shrub was the outcome of a common non-alcoholic mixology method from the days of the original thirteen colonies — New York being one of them. A bitter, on the other hand, was a specific early 1800s ingredient in the recipe for a liquor-based cocktail.
Photo Credit: The Hudson Standard
Here’s how it works: fruit (a particularly good-use for aging stock) fermented in apple cider vinegar + sweetener = shrub syrup. After some filtration, the syrup is then mixed with a variety of herbs, spices and so on. (Fun fact: Shrubs are healthy!)
Here’s how it works: herbs/spices + grain alcohol = bitters. The technique used here differs from that of shrubs. The process to create a proper bitter is more about careful flavor extraction as opposed to soaking. (Fun fact: Bitters have a medicinal origin in ancient cultures.)
Needless to say, New York is proud to call The Hudson Standard one of the countless innovative small-batch companies contributing to the national maker movement. We cannot think of one thing that is not entirely locally-sustainable about their approach and acumen — such as sourcing organic ingredients from Hudson Valley farmers. This women-owned business stands for agriculturally-conscious quality, whose products are enjoyed in the homes of many New Yorkers (and non-New Yorkers!) with family and friends.
Gathering spruce shoots. Photo Credit: The Hudson Standard
Founder(s): Marianne Courville
Team: Anja Rothe, Emily Woerthman
Location: Hudson, New York
Q: Describe a shrub in one sentence.
A: Delightful and refreshing natural-fruit-flavor-infused apple cider vinegar mixer for sodas and cocktails.
Q: Describe bitters in one sentence.
A: Botanical extracts used to enhance the flavors of sodas and cocktails.
Q: How did The Hudson Standard become the business it is today? What was the inspiration for running a company that makes and sells shrubs and bitters?
A: Marianne (the founder) owns a wine and liquor store, Hudson Wine Merchants, with her husband and recognized the craft distilling movement happening in the Hudson Valley. We wanted to create something to compliment this, something true to the area. We heard about shrubs, did a little research, starting playing around in the kitchen and The Hudson Standard was born.
Q: What do you love most about the Hudson Valley?
A: There’s a really cool maker tradition here. A lot of people are returning to the area’s roots, whether they’re back-to-the-landers, homesteader, or just finding a renewed appreciation for historical lineage of the area. The Hudson Standard definitely fits into this niche. Shrubs and bitters are historical, a simple and old way of preserving fruit and botanicals. It’s great being in a community that embraces the tradition and wants to see it move into the future.
Q: Any new products in development that you can talk about?
A: We always have something new brewing in the kitchen. It’s our very favorite part of creating. We have some exciting change on the horizon, hopefully by end of summer, but you’ll have to stay tuned!
Photo Credit: The Hudson Standard
Q: What events can we find The Hudson Standard at this summer?
A: We’ll be at the Hudson River Exchange Summer Market on the waterfront in Hudson Friday, June 23rd, and Saturday, 24th. It’s always a great time!
Q: What is your New York State of Mind in one word?
RECIPES USING THE HUDSON STANDARD’S SHRUBS AND BITTERS
"How To Make a Shrub Soda" Video By: Percy Productions
Click here for The Hudson Standard Shrubs and Bitters recipes ranging from decadent cocktails to dinner entrees!