Babylon 2500 BC
Dates, it's all about the dates. How to preserve the excess crop from rotting. The solution? Tip them into a barrel of vinegar where the yeasts and mould can't survive. Leave them for a few months and the magic happens, the sugar in the dates infuses the vinegar and creates a rich sweet, sour syrup. A flavour to hide the brackish nature of desert water, and acidic enough to kill any pathogens that may be lurking in it. The perfect combination of style, form and function. They call this elixir a sharab - literally, a drink - from whence our modern shrub is derived. The master shrubbers are up and running.