This Is The Best Cocktail I Had All Summer

Illustration by Aaron Tripp

Don’t Sleep On This: Shrub cocktails

Friends don’t let friends miss out on all the cool, under-the-radar things they know about, like where to buy ultra-fashionable clothes at decidedly non-runway prices or which little-known beauty brand is low-key making the best highlighter around. And because we consider our readers to be like friends, we decided to gather together all our best tips in a new series: Don’t Sleep on This. Check in every week to see what things we can’t wait to share with you.

This summer when I was in Hudson, New York, I ended up in the very popular Rivertown Tavern for dinner. And while the seasonal, then-Mexican-inspired menu (inspiration rotates monthly) was mention-worthy, it was the cocktail I drank that stuck with me after the night ended. A concoction of gin, tonic, and strawberry-rhubarb shrub, it was equal parts tart and sweet, fruity and refreshing, the perfect drink for summer. After buying the shrub that I assumed the cocktail was made from—The Hudson Standard in strawberry-rhubarb—in a home store next-door to the restaurant, and recreating the drink many times at home since then, I can confirm: It's the best drink I had all summer—and the shrub has everything to do with it.

Made using fruit, vinegar, and a sweetener, shrubs are delicious cocktail mixers, providing that perfect balance of fruitiness and acidity. (They also make for great mocktails; I have taken to adding shrubs to seltzer for a weeknight drink.) "The idea behind a cocktail is to hit many tasting notes on the tongue—sweet, sour, umami, and bitter—and shrubs are an easy way to add the first three. They provide sweetness, tartness, and bright fruit flavor," says Emily Woerthman, "head shrub dealer" at The Hudson Standard, explaining why shrub cocktails make for such good cocktails. "Just add bitters to the cocktail, and you've hit all four." Bonus: Shrubs don't go bad as fast as, say, a lemon or lime that you would typically use for an at-home drink. According to Woerthman, "Because of the preserving quality of vinegar, shrubs have a very long shelf life. They easily outlast fresh-squeezed citrus which oxidizes quickly," making them a maintenance-free choice for at-home bartenders who may not always have more than a dried half of a week-old lime. (Or, is that just me?)

Shrubs are not a new product by any means. With more people taking apple cider vinegar shots in the morning, as a means of improving digestion, drinking vinegars have steadily risen in popularity in the last few years. "Many cultures drink acids before or with meals, and herbal tinctures or liqueurs after meals, as a way to improve digestion. My experience is mostly from living in Italy, where this practice is routine and where talking about digestion is more common," Don Morton, founder of Shrub District, says. "Cocktails are a great way to prime the digestive tract, as acids help break down food and provide a nice balance to cut fats and heavier foods."

He likens the popularity of shrubs to the general rise in interest in fermented foods. "American consumers are becoming more familiar with the fermented flavors of things like vinegar, yogurt, olives, kombucha, kefir, lacto-fermented pickles, kraut, and kimchi. Shrubs provide a way to bring these fermented flavors into the bar space." In addition to being digestion aids, shrubs, made from natural ingredients and real fruit, are also generally healthier than average mixers, many of which contain artificial coloring and flavors, additives, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Plus, taste-wise, shrubs offer more diversity in a space that's been reliant on citrus for too long. "Bartenders have a wide range of spirits and sweeteners—in the form of liqueurs or syrups—but the choice of acids has been mostly lime and lemon. Shrubs give us a great way to increase the complexity of cocktails by expanding the palate of acids," says Morton.

Ready to try? To make a simple cocktail, mix one part shrub with two parts liquor of choice and three parts sparkling water or premium tonic (like Fever-Tree), and top with ice. When deciding which flavors to pair with which spirit, keep the top notes or main fruit profile in mind. For instance, something spice-infused (think: turmeric, cinnamon, or allspice) works better with warmer liquors like a bourbon, rum, or rye; fruity or berry flavors work best with clear spirits; citrus and herbal flavors go with most spirits. Though, as Woerthman points out, "Shrubs are a 'choose-your-own-adventure.' They are versatile and allow people to experiment with uniquely delicious products that help them create better-for-you beverages." Cheers to that!

Below, check out some shrub cocktail recipes.

Whiskey Buck


  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz Shrub District Ginger
  • Seltzer, to top

Stir all the ingredients in a highball glass and top with ice.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.