Rhubarb Mead Shrub – Catching Up With Tom Gosnell

Our latest limited edition collaboration soda sees us team up with South London Mead slingers Gosnells. We’ve put our heads together (from a safe, social distance of course!) and come up with a Rhubarb Mead Shrub using Tonlinson's Yorkshire Rhubarb and their Honey Mead Vinegar!

A shrub, apart from also being the name of a small bush, is the name given to a syrup made from fruit, sugar and vinegar. It’s usually served with still, sparkling or soda water in various mixed drinks and cocktails!

For our Rhubarb Mead Shrub, we took Gosnells' Mead Vinegar, and mixed it with our fresh and tangy Rhubarb juice. We topped it off with their wildflower blended honey to create a sweet & sour mashup that’s got huge fruit flavours and an incredible depth.

Sounds pretty tasty, right Fizz Fam? Want to know more? We caught up with Gosnells’ Founder Tom Gosnell to get the inside scoop!

A sticker with Gosnells Logo on it

Howdy Tom! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about who Gosnells are and what you’re all about?

Our passion is creating delicious, unique drinks made with honey, for people with adventurous tastes. We love bees and blending the amazing flavours they can produce, together with our own fresh ideas, to create a modern version of Mead, the oldest alcoholic drink in the world.

Sounds pretty awesome, but where’d you get all that honey from?

We source our honey from a variety of places, and it's amazing to see the difference that the terroir of the land where the bees forage provides. For all of our canned drinks we source a variety of honeys and then blend them together to get a consistent flavour year after year.

For our specialty meads we really want to showcase the differences in the honey - one of our favourites is our Vintage Mead, made each year with honey from Woodberry Wetlands and Walthamstow Marshes.

For this collab we used the same honey that goes into our cans, a wildflower blend as we wanted some background sweetness and honeyed notes, rather than something front and centre!

A sticker with words on it that says 'Made with mead vinegar and honey'.

We can just about get our heads around how honey and mead are made, but what the heck is Mead Vinegar?

A bit like cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, Mead Vinegar is made from Mead where the alcohol has been turned into acetic acid, or vinegar. This is a naturally ocuring process, where bacteria in the air will turn any alcohol into vinegar over time. On a brewery scale we do this by cultivating this bacteria (acetobacter), and topping it up with all of our leftover mead, like testing samples, etc. It's the best thing to do with leftover mead (We’re all about zero waste here at Gosnells), as you get the flavour of the honey, the complexity of the mead and the bite of the vinegar all in one.

So what’s the deal with this collab then? How’d you end up coming up with the idea of a Rhubarb Mead Shrub?

I'd been busy experimenting with vinegar over lock down and playing with some non-alcoholic ferments in a bid to reinvent our low alcohol range (and moderate my intake). When I first tasted the vinegar I knew it would be perfect for a shrub - a traditional way to preserve fruit in sugar and vinegar.

I knew from chatting with Robyn that she was also interested in shrubs, so coming up with this collab seemed like the natural next step!

A bee riding on a rhubarb holding a flag with the words 'Bee Approved' on it.

And finally, what should drinkers expect from this bottle of Fizzy Pop?

It sounds mad but the balance of sugar, fruit and acidity provides this incredible depth of flavour. We decided to go with Rhubarb because it’s a great seasonal ingredient and the extra acidity and sweetness it provides perfectly bridges the sweet and sour notes of the vinegar and honey.

Our Square Root x Gosnells Rhubarb Mead Shrub is on sale now via the online store!

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