Shrubs on the menu at new tasting room

Clîtie Murdoch at the new tasting room.
Clîtie Murdoch at the new tasting room.

The historic Mullamuddy Homestead has been transformed into a tasting room with a difference.

Shrubs are the main ‘taste tester’ on the menu.

Mudgee based business Wellstead Shrubs has taken over the original property which has been tastefully renovated and still maintains many of its original features.

Clîtie Murdoch is the chief creator of the old school fruit infusions that dates back to the 17th century. The vinegar-based syrup is used as a mixer in water or cocktails.

“Shrub is Arabic for drinking vinegar – they’re probably the oldest cordial in the world,” Clîtie explained.

“They used to preserve all the fruits on vinegar so they had them for winter. When they took off the fruit, they found that they had a bi-product which was a shrub – a drinking vinegar. They added cane sugar to sweeten it.”

The infusions have recently made a comeback in cocktail bars in America, Canada, and the UK, Sydney bars are now slowly catching on.

“It really hasn’t taken off in Australia yet, but it will in time,” she said.

Clitie started making her award winning raspberry vinegar nine years ago - purely out of necessity while making a recipe that required the fruit vinegar. Not having access to any, she decided to make her own.

“I do heaps of flavours – my predominant ones are raspberry, pear and ginger, blood orange, passion fruit, pomegranate, mulberries – any fruit can be turned into a shrub,” she said.

“All of the processors are different – some are done on white wine vinegar, some use apple cider vinegar – depending on the fruit.”

Clîtie explained a lot has changed and developed since production started three and a half years ago.

“I don’t do hand juicing anymore,” she said.

“The first year I brought 100 blood oranges and I sat and hand juiced every single one – it was ridiculous.”

Clîtie has teamed up with Natalie from Mudgee’s Who Ate The Cake to create a food and drink offering, just in time for the visiting Wine and Food Festival crowds.

The tasting room is on Horse Flat Lane just off The Castlereagh High Way, 11km from Mudgee.