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Geek Mixology is a series offering up recipes for drinks from or inspired by games—mostly the latter.

When you first encounter Lulu in Final Fantasy X, she’s off-putting. Her demeanor is cold; her outfit, rippled with belts and fur and lace, is dark. She seems wildly out of place in the bright island of Besaid.

Over time, she softens. She mellows. She and Wakka begin to share a special bond, and she even begrudgingly accepts Tidus.

This is a shrub dedicated to Lulu.

Most foodies understand that wine and vinegar share a certain origin. When juice takes a detour in the wine-making process, it becomes vinegar. When juice finishes its fermentation, it takes on an alcoholic guise.

Shrubs are mixed drinks that include vinegar as an ingredient. They have the same tart dryness of wine, but their tannic qualities are softened. Like Lulu, they have a sweetness that is all the more brought to the surface by their oddly acidic nature. They’re bracing.

The Lulu Shrub has one special ingredient: pineapple, in honor of Wakka.

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Lulu Shrub

Dark and mysterious, this drink is oddly fragrant. It’s sweet, but there’s a lingering aftertaste that’s unusually sharp and acidic. The flavor’s implacable on its own, but after half a glass, the drink seems richer for it. The berries and pineapple supply the sweetness—no agave needed.

INGREDIENTS

Makes two glasses

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple (approximately half a small container)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (the higher quality, the better!)
  • fizzy seltzer to taste

1. Dump the pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, and water into a blender. Blend until smooth.

2. Add the vinegar into the blended mixture. Blend to stir everything together.

3. Portion out half the mixture into a glass.

4. Add equal parts seltzer, stirring so that the berry bits mix in with the water. Imbibe!

This is an incredibly simple recipe, and the results are surprising. Shrubs pair excellently with salads and fish, but they’re also delicious on their own.

If you’re unsure of adding vinegar to your drink, feel free to cut down the amount to a teaspoon or so. The taste will be mild, but a strong balsamic will still leave an impression on the palate. I’ve added up to two tablespoons of vinegar to a Lulu Shrub, and while the vinegar taste was noticeable, it wasn’t unpleasant.

This shrub would be tasty with a little pomegranate juice mixed in as well!

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