Sharply tart with the robust undertone of dark red wine, this cherry shrub is delicious when stirred into sparkling water. Notes of herbs and spice bring a complex undertone to the drink that balances well with dark, sweet cherries.
Spoon the cherries, thyme, and black pepper into a quart-sized jar and mash them together with a wooden spoon or muddler until the cherries begin to soften without losing their form.
Infusing the vinegar.
Pour the vinegar over the fruit and herbs, and then seal the jar with a nonmetal lid. Shake the jar daily, and let the vinegar sit in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks.
Straining and sweetening.
After 2 weeks, strain the infused vinegar into a clean through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids. Stir in the sugar, and allow it to dissolve.
Serving and storing.
Store the shrub syrup at room temperature for up to 8 weeks or in the fridge for up to 6 months. To serve the shrub, fill a glass with ice and then pour up to two tablespoons of the syrup into the jar, filling the remaining space with mineral water.