How to Make Simple Shrubs

How to Make Shrubs (aka Drinking Vinegars) Without a Recipe

We here at Food52 adore recipes—but do we always follow them to the letter? Without a doubt, this is not the case. Because once you learn that you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll find yourself preparing your favorite recipes on a far more regular basis. Today: We’re going to make a zingy, fruity drinking vinegar, and it’s all about the proportions. (And, yes, it makes for a fantastic drink, as well.) The first time you try a shrub, you’ll quickly realize that it’s one of the most refreshing beverages you’ll ever consume—especially during the summer months.

Because the fruit is so fresh, it tastes like its most natural self, and the vinegar slices right through it.

The alcohol is optional, although it is quite tasty.

Shrub purists may argue that a shrub created in the hot method is not an atrueshrub—and they may be correct in their assertion.

  1. If you’re short on time, the hot method is a decent choice; if you have the luxury of taking your time, the cold method is a better choice—I personally like the flavor of a cold process shrub, which is a bit less jammy and more genuine to the fruit in flavor.
  2. Gather all of the materials.
  3. In order to make cold process shrub, 1 pound chopped fruit, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups vinegar are a suitable place to start; in order to make hot process shrub, use 1 pound fruit, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup vinegar as a starting point.
  4. Fruit and flavorings are used in this recipe.
  5. But I would not advocate the hot watermelon preparation method, which I tried (and which, I’m ashamed to add, made my flat smell completely like stomach acid).
  6. According to a good rule of thumb, the heated procedure will work well for everything that would be suitable for making jam.
  7. There are several methods for obtaining a watermelon bush.

If you want to make a citrus shrub, first peel the citrus peel (ideally organic) off with your fingers, then massage the zest into the sugar until it’s highly fragrant—this way, you won’t lose any of the beneficial oils.

But it doesn’t always have to be a fruit bush to be effective!

Vinegar is used in this recipe.

Plain white vinegar, on the other hand, is far too highly acidic for my taste buds.

Balsamic vinegar, in example, lends incredible depth to berry bushes, and you only need a dash to get this effect.

The sugar is a sweetener.

While I haven’t personally tried it, you may also experiment with other sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar. It’s unlikely that molasses would be too overbearing. Here are a few examples of combos that seem extremely appealing:

  • Strawberries with white sugar and red wine vinegar, as well as a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Blueberries with thinly sliced ginger and cider vinegar
  • Nectarine with peppercorn and brown sugar and white wine vinegar
  • Peach with cardamom pods and honey and cider vinegar
  • Pomegranate with peppercorn and white sugar and red wine vinegar
  • Pear with star anise and brown sugar and white wine vinegar (which is what I made here)
  • Red plum with cardamom and

The sugar and fruit should be mixed together before adding the vinegar. To make a cold-process shrub, combine your fruit (gently diced or crushed) in a large mixing basin and stir it with the sugar. Allow this mixture to remain on your kitchen counter, firmly covered with a dishtowel, for approximately 2 days before using. Once a day, give it a good stir. It should begin to appear really juicy at this point. To make the shrub, strain the mixture into a measuring cup, discarding the fruit as you go.

  1. That’s all there is to it!
  2. Additionally, shrubs may become your trademark drink.
  3. Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) is made in a medium saucepan at low heat until the sugar is entirely dissolved, then the shrub is finished in a hot process.
  4. Allow it to continue to bubble until the syrup has turned the color of the fruit and the fruit appears to be exhausted.
  5. Refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.
  6. Don’t forget to drink!
  7. Alternatively, you could add a shot of booze: I enjoy gin and found it to be great when combined with a strawberry-balsamic shrub, but whiskey or vodka would also be delectable alternatives.

It doesn’t matter whatever method you choose, a shrub will last for a long time in your refrigerator—I’d estimate a couple of months at the very least (though I haven’t had one last more than a month, so I couldn’t tell for certain).

If it does, chastise it, toss it out, and start again from the beginning.

Looking for even more shrub inspiration?

We’ve got you covered.

This shrub begins with a pound of tomatoes, which are then seasoned with a variety of spices, including coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and red pepper flakes, among others.

It may be served with anything from basic seltzer to a cold lager.

Shrubbyadashofbitters’ Cranberry-Apple Shrub.

(Not to mention the hue!) Apples, cranberries, cider vinegar, and turbinado sugar are the only ingredients you’ll need for this recipe.

Tonic with Watermelon, Mint, and Cider Vinegar, created by Louisa Shafia.

Since 2013, this dish has been labeled “Genius,” and it has been making our summers more pleasant ever since.

This article was originally published in August 2015, but it has been updated. We’ve updated it in preparation for another hot and humid summer. Have you ever tried your hand at making a shrub? Tell us what kind you have in the comments section below!

How To Make a Fruit Shrub Syrup

Have you ever had a drink from a shrub? Not the bush out on your front yard, but a fruit syrup that has been preserved with vinegar and may be blended with water or alcohol to create a tart, refreshing beverage that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Shrubs, an old-fashioned favorite that has quietly made a resurgence in recent years — particularly on cocktail menus — but they aren’t limited to the realm of mixologists alone. Making shrub syrup at home is a simple and enjoyable method to preserve and experiment with seasonal fruit, and you can use this template to make shrub syrup with virtually any fruit you have on hand.

The term “shrub” comes from the Arabic word sharbah, which literally translates as “a drink.” The words “sherbet” and “syrup” are derived from the same Arabic origin.

Scurvy was a serious problem for sailors during the Colonial era, thus they brought shrubs, which were high in Vitamin C, on board their ships.

The Basic Process for Making Shrubs

Although there are a variety of techniques for manufacturing shrubs, the most typical approach includes preparing a fruit-flavored vinegar and sweetening it with sugar, which is then used to make shrubs. Because vinegar contains acetic acid, which works as a preservative, shrubs were once — and continue to be — a great way to savor seasonal fruit juices all year long. I enjoy experimenting with different combinations of fruit and vinegar to create these delectable syrups, and I look forward to doing so.

The Ingredients for Making Shrubs

Fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar are used in the preparation of shrubs. With each of those components, you have a great deal of flexibility in terms of what you may use based on what is in season and what you have in your pantry. Berries are undoubtedly the best fruit for shrubs, but other fruits like as cherries, peaches, plums, pears, and other stone fruits can also be used to decorate them. While the fruit should be ripe and delicious, it is not necessary for them to be flawless; this is an excellent chance to use farmers market “seconds” as well as any fruit that is readily available during the season.

  1. Flavorings like as ginger, citrus peel, or even peppercorns can be used to enhance the dish.
  2. Distilled white vinegar has a clear, harsh flavor; apple cider vinegar is softer and has a fruity flavor; and wine vinegars, while more costly, generally have a better smooth flavor due to their higher concentration of alcohol.
  3. White granulated sugar is my go-to sweetener since it has a neutral sweetness and is easy to work with.
  4. Because vinegar has a high concentration of acid, it does not promote the growth of the bacterium that causes botulism in humans.

There are faster and easier shrub procedures available, but I consider this one to be more dependable in terms of rich flavor and long-term storage than the others.


  • Clean and seed 2 cups fruit
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar


  • Jar or other glass container with a tight-fitting lid or top in the size of a quarter
  • Deep pot
  • Measuring cups (both liquid and dry)
  • Funnels (optional, but handy)
  • A few more items. Ingredients: saucepan
  • Food thermometer
  • Kitchen cloth or paper towel
  • Fine cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • A clean kitchen cloth or paper towel


  1. Sterilize the canning jar by washing it in hot, soapy water and rinsing it completely after each use. Using 1 to 2 inches of heated water to cover the vegetables, bring the saucepan to a boil and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Washing the lid or cap in hot, soapy water, rinsing well, then scalding it in boiling water is recommended. Toss in the fruit: Carefully take the jar from the water using canning jar lifters or tongs and set it on a flat surface on the kitchen counter to cool. In a container, place the fruit that has been prepped
  2. Toss in the vinegar: Using a small saucepan, heat the vinegar until it is just below boiling point, or at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the vinegar over the fruit, being sure to leave at least 1/4-inch headspace in the jar before closing it. Clean the rim with a clean, wet cloth and screw on the cap firmly
  3. Allow it to stand: Allow the vinegar to cool fully before storing it in a cold, dark location, such as a closet or the refrigerator, to prevent spoilage. Remove off the heat and let it sit for at least 24 hours and up to 4 weeks till the taste is achieved
  4. Remove the fruit from the vinegar using a wet cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove the seeds and skins. Repeat this process at least once, or as many times as necessary, until the vinegar is clear of cloudiness. Remove the fruit from the container or store it for later use (it’s typically wonderful when used in chutneys)
  5. Toss in the sugar: In a small saucepan, combine the fruit-infused vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer to an airtight container that has been cleaned and sterilized (you can use the original mason jar or other bottles
  6. See step 1 for the sterilization method)
  7. Keep the shrub syrup refrigerated until ready to use it. It has a shelf life of up to 6 months if it is properly sealed. Before using, take a taste to ensure that the flavor is still nice. Other food that contains mold or any evidence of fermentation, such as bubbling, cloudiness, or sliminess, should be discarded immediately. Serve: Pour 1 spoonful shrub syrup into a glass of still or sparkling water and serve immediately. Taste and adjust with additional syrup if necessary. Shrub syrups can also be used as cocktail mixers, salad dressings, and a variety of other applications.

Recipe Notes

Emily Ho created this procedure based on ancient recipes and the “Flavored Vinegars” portion of her book, So Easy To Preserve (Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia, 2006).

How to Make a Shrub

Following the successful completion of the basic shrub, it’s time to be inventive. A touch of sweetness may be added by using soft herbs such as basil or mint, while an earthy savouriness can be added by using woodier herbs such as rosemary or thyme. There are a variety of spices that may be used with different fruits – apple and cardamom are two examples, cherry and cinnamon is another, strawberry and peppercorn is another, and rhubarb and star anise is another. Even flowers may be a charming touch; for example, dried rose petals can be added to peaches or lavender can be added to a blueberry shrub.

See also:  3 Tips for Your Healthiest, Happiest Winter

Some veggies are also suitable for growing in bushes.

Instead of using white sugar, half the amount and mix it with shredded beetroot, juniper berries, and raw apple cider vinegar for an earthy taste.

Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups

The berries at our local market are disappearing faster than you can say “Raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, gooseberry.” They are gone before you ever realize you missed them. I made the decision last year to save them for myself to enjoy in the future. Because this isn’t Home Canning 101, there will be no jams, jellies, or marmalades made in this class. I’m a self-proclaimed cocktail nerd, and shrub syrups are a particular favorite of mine and my family, which is exactly what we’ll be discussing today.

What’s a Shrub?

In the history of beverages, the wordhrubhas was used to convey a variety of meanings. For the purposes of this article, it is sufficient to state that a shrub is an acidulated beverage produced from fruit juice, sugar, and several additional components. The fact that the acid used in each dish is different makes matters more confusing. It might be either fruit juice or vinegar, depending on the recipe. Additionally, some shrub recipes call for the use of alcohol, which is steeped with the fruit, acid, and sugar before being bottled.

  • However, the fruit juice is preserved by the sugar, acid, and optional alcohol, which was actually one of the shrub’s original purposes when it was first developed.
  • Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, and they were often blended with cool water to serve as a refreshing drink on hot summer days.
  • When industrially processed foods and home refrigeration were introduced, they combined to almost completely eradicate the shrub from American foodways.
  • Fortunately, they’re incredibly simple to prepare at home, and for drink enthusiasts (whether of the alcoholic or nonalcoholic sort), they’re also rather adaptable.
  • During the summer, I created so many bottles of wine that my wife was amused (and a little annoyed) by the number of bottles in the refrigerator.

Because she is pregnant and refraining from alcohol, I have an abundant supply of fruity and tart syrups ready for her to sup on while she is pregnant and abstaining from alcohol. So head over to your local farm stand, get your other ingredients, and continue reading below.

Shrubbing Ingredients

In order to experiment, you’ll need three fundamental ingredients:

  • Fruits such as berries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, and apricots are available. Make a complete fool of yourself. Make a start with the most flawless and immaculate specimens you can locate, ones that are completely free of blemishes and flaws. No, that’s not correct. Carry out the polar opposite of what I’ve just said. You’re not delivering a fruit basket to a movie star
  • You’re preparing a syrup for one. Consult with the vendors at your local farmer’s market to see if any of them will sell you their seconds, which are the fruits that would otherwise end up in a compost pile on the farm’s property. That’s ideal for creating syrup, and it’ll save you a lot of money as well
  • Sugar: I always use pure cane sugar that has been refined. Why? Only because I’ve never had the opportunity to experiment with turbinado or other exotic brown sugars. They’re on my list of future versions to try out, so please let me know if you’ve tried them and what you thought of them. To learn the method, however, start with cane sugar and then on to other sugars if you so choose. Vinegar: I prefer to use either red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar when making vinegar. I feel that they are less bland than white vinegar, but that they do not impart an excessive amount of funkiness to the finished result. Some shrubbers have had excellent success using balsamic vinegar. Take, for instance, this recipe for a Black Cherry Balsamic Shrub, which sounds fantastic, especially with the addition of peppercorns and cinnamon

Shrubbing Methods: Pros and Cons

Now, before I go into detail about my shrub-making technique, I should point out that it is not the only way to go about it. The method described here may not even be the simplest or most expedient method of creating a shrub, let alone the quickest. You’ll discover that most other shrub recipes ask for a stove-cooked syrup—basically, a fruity simple syrup with vinegar added at the end—which is what you’ll find in most other sources. That is effective, and by all means, if that is what you want to do, I will not miraculously materialize in your kitchen and prevent you from doing so.

  1. In a saucepan, combine equal amounts of sugar and water and boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts. Cook until the berries or fruit are soft and the liquid of the fruit has blended thoroughly into the syrup. Allow for cooling of the mixture. Remove the solids by straining them out. Combine the vinegar and the syrup in a container and put it in the refrigerator

That’s precisely how I used to make bushes back in the day. However, I was in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail in July, and I had a great time. Paul Clarke, a fellow Serious Drinker, was facilitating a lecture on aperitif cocktails. Among others who spoke on the panel were Neyah White, a former bartender who now works for Skyy Spirits, which imports brands such as Suntory whisky and other spirits. The conversation temporarily veered away from the subject of aperitifs to that of shrubs, during which Neyah discussed the chilly technique he used for shrub production.

Instead, he macerates fresh fruit in sugar for anything from a few hours to several days, depending on the fruit.

You next drain the liquid out of the fruit and combine it with vinegar to make syrup.

Although the cold process takes longer, the fruit flavor is purer and more vibrant as a result.

Cold Shrubbin’ with Flavor

Now, the cold-process way of shrub-making is a bit more involved than the heated one, but it’s actually not that much more complicated. The recipe does not call for any particular equipment or materials, and as long as you have enough room in your refrigerator to store a bowl of fruit, you should be OK. Let’s get started:

  1. Prepare the fruit by washing and chopping it. The majority of berries may be softly crushed, even with your hands, if that is your preferred method. Fruit such as strawberries should be hulled and cut into quarters before eating. Stone fruit must be quartered and pitted before eating. Sugar should be applied to the fruit. When it comes to fruit, sugar, and vinegar, Neyah White suggests a one-to-one ratio, which is a fantastic place to begin your experiment. As a result, one cup sugar should be added to one cup of fruit, for example. Stir everything together, cover it, and put it in the fridge.

Michael Dietsch is an American actor and director who is best known for his role in the film The Great Gatsby.

  1. If you wait a few hours or perhaps a day or two, your fruit should be completely enveloped by juice and syrup, like follows:
  1. Remove the syrup from the particles using a fine mesh strainer, pushing lightly on the solids to dislodge any obstinate juice. If there is any sugar left on the bottom of the bowl, scrape it into the syrup. It should sink to the bottom of the container, below the syrup. As I’ll explain later, this is perfectly OK.
  1. Toss in the vinegar and whisk vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved
  2. Pour the mixture into a clean bottle using a funnel. Refrigerate after covering with a tight-fitting cap and shaking thoroughly. Check on the shrub on a regular basis. It is possible that some sugar will settle to the bottom of the bottle. If so, give it a good shake to mix the flavors. At some point, the sugar will be dissolved by the acids found in the juice and vinegar.

Now it’s your turn to taste. What you will surely discover is that the perfume and flavor of your new shrub are quite potent and powerful. It has a strong acidity from the vinegar, a powerful sweetness from the sugar, and a fruit flavor that serves as a unifying ingredient. What amazes me, at least, about shrubs is how they mature and become more mellow with time. And I do mean a great deal of mellowness. Despite the fact that the acidity and sweetness both persist, they begin to blend together after only a few weeks in the refrigerator.

And there’s something else going on chemically that I think is very cool: you see, the whosiwhatsis interacts with the frim-fram in a really interesting way.

Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of sugar by ambient yeast (both on the fruit itself and in the air), whereas vinegar is produced by the fermentation of alcohol by acetobacter (the bacteria found in unpasteurized vinegar).

Because the bacteria-induced pH drop will block the yeast’s fermentation process (and hence the bacteria’s acetic acid-producing pathway), the shrub will eventually stabilize and will not be transformed into fruit vinegar.” I’ll take your word for it, Professor, and move on.

How to Use Shrubs

Shrubs may enhance the depth and complexity of a cocktail, but they must be used with caution. Adding citrus juice may be tricky because of their acidity; thus, if you’re adding juice, start with a little amount and taste as you’re assembling your items. Utilize a base alcohol, a shrub, a complementing liqueur, and bitters to create a cocktail. For example, rum with blackberry shrub, ginger liqueur, and lime bitters would be a good combination. You’ll have to think about how the sweetness of the shrub will balance out with the sweetness of the liqueur; simply keep experimenting until you find the ideal combination.

  • Finish it off with some seltzer or club soda, and you’ve got yourself a refreshing and delicious treat.
  • Or two, or three.
  • As an added bonus, here is the following link: An interview with Amy Eddings of the New York public radio station WNYC about a meeting with Beet and Lemon Shrub at Russ and Daughters, one of my most favorite locations in a long history of places, may be found here.
  • I’d be interested in learning more about it.

Get The Recipes:

Ashrub (also known as drinking vinegar) is a concentrated syrup made from fruit, sugar, and vinegar that is used in the beverage industry. In order to generate new taste combinations, apple cider vinegar is the most commonly used basis for shrubs, with herbs and spices being added to create a unique flavor profile. When blended with water or soda, this sweet and acidic mixer can be consumed straight or in a variety of mixed cocktails. You may either purchase prefabricated bushes or create ones from scratch.

How to Drink Shrubs

Many individuals prefer drinking shrubs, which are similar to switchels in that they allow them to take advantage of the health advantages of apple cider vinegar while enjoying a pleasant beverage. It is possible to use them as a stand-alone ingredient in beverages when topped with either cold water (as was usual in early America) or clear sodas such as club soda or ginger ale.


Combine one ounce of shrub with five to six ounces of water or soda over ice to make a refreshing drink that is easy to sip.

Shrub Cocktails

Shrubs are becoming increasingly popular as a cocktail component because they provide a fresh zest to mixed beverages. Bartenders are creating their own and incorporating them into innovative new drink concoctions to make them stand out.

With one exception, they’re a lot of fun to work with: Because shrubs are acidic in nature, it is preferable not to combine them with citrus and other extremely acidic fruits in your garden. Experimenting with shrubs is the most effective technique to learn about them:

  • Apple shrubs are popular and pair well with a variety of spirits like as mezcal, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. Combine an apple-fennel shrub with a shot of whiskey and a splash of ginger beer for a refreshing cocktail. Make a cranberry-fig shrub with old rum, ruby port, and ginger ale for a refreshing drink. Using a homemade blueberry shrub prepared with apple cider vinegar and agave nectar, thedaiquir-ease recipe is simple and delicious
  • Starting with a handmade pear and ginger shrub produced with an apple cider vinegar base, the recipe for the pear and pomegranate Champagne shrub is created.
See also:  Pass the Flax, Please

How to Make Shrubs at Home

Making your own shrubs is simple, and the taste combinations are virtually limitless. Simple syrup or home-made infusions are created in a manner similar to that of creating simple syrup, and there are two methods: cold and warm. If you pick either option, the first step is to select at least one element from each of the following categories to use in the creation of your own shrub:

  • Sugar: Just as with simple syrup, you can play with with different types of sugar. Some fruit-vinegar combinations may be more effective than others, depending on the individual. It is totally OK to use white granulated sugar. Some shrub manufacturers choose raw sugars such as turbinado or demerara, or even normal brown sugar, while others use white sugar. Wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar are the most common types of vinegar used in shrub production. Some people prefer to use balsamic vinegar. While distilled white vinegar is OK, the additional tastes provided by the other choices are preferable
  • Fruit: Berries are a popular bush fruit, however you may use nearly any fruit in this recipe. The following fruits and vegetables are excellent choices: apples, figs, pears, plums, cucumbers, and rhubarb. Supplemental Flavorings: Herbs and spices, which are optional, give shrubs a more complex flavor profile. Basil, fennel, peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme are just a few of the herbs that may be seen growing in bushes on a daily basis.

In order to make shrubs, it is customary to use two cups of fruit together with two cups each of vinegar and sugar (this ratio can be adjusted to taste). Taste and season with herbs and spices to your liking; one tablespoon is a reasonable starting point for most things. This will provide a good amount of shrub for experimenting as well as a substantial number of beverages. After they’ve been produced, you may keep them in the refrigerator for up to six months. Natural taste combinations should be considered when determining which herbs and spices to use with a specific fruit or fruit combination.

Hot Process Shrubs

The hot technique is the most often used method of creating a shrub. Some individuals prefer to start by preparing a basic syrup of water and sugar, then adding the vinegar after it has cooled and just before bottling the finished product.

  1. On a stovetop, heat equal amounts of sugar and vinegar, continually stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved
  2. Saute the fruit, together with any herbs or spices, for around five minutes, to allow the juices and tastes to be released into the syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture to cool
  3. Remove any solids by straining them through a second layer of cheesecloth. Fill a clean glass jar with the mixture and store it in the refrigerator for two to four days before using it in beverages. You may adjust the sweetness and acidity to your liking.

Cold Process Shrubs

The use of cold process shrubs is becoming increasingly popular among shrub growers. While there are a variety of ways you may use, the following is a fundamental approach:

  1. Fill a jar with a tight-fitting lid and fill it with one part each of fruit and vinegar, as well as any herbs and spices you choose. Shake the bottle vigorously for approximately 20 seconds. Permit the mixture to infuse at room temperature for approximately one week, shaking it thoroughly once a day. Solids should be strained out of the mixture using a second layer of cheesecloth before being transferred to a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. In a separate container, add one part sugar and mix until it is fully dissolved
  2. Refrigerate for approximately a week (or longer or shorter depending on your preference), then taste to see if extra sugar or vinegar is needed.

Any-Berry Shrub

There’s no more delicious summer beverage than a puckering fruit shrub combined with club soda and served over ice in the summertime. The cold-process approach, in which ripe berries and sugar macerate for a day until they convert into a tasty syrup, is our favorite way to prepare shrub. There are numerous variations on this theme. Once you’ve strained the fruit syrup into your jar, you may infuse it with a variety of other flavors to create your finished shrub. One or two pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced; a small bunch of basil or mint leaves, gently slapped to release smells; a few sprig or two of freshly chopped rosemary or thyme; or a 3″-piece of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed and smashed are some ideas to get you started.

Drink the shrub immediately, but it will taste much better after a week or so, when the tastes have had time to blend.


The combination of a puckering fruit shrub and club soda served over ice is the ultimate summer cocktail. The cold-process approach, in which ripe berries and sugar macerate for a day until they convert into a tasty syrup, is our favorite way to prepare shrub. There are several variations on this technique. Once you’ve strained the fruit syrup into your jar, you may infuse it with a variety of other flavors to create a finished shrub that tastes delicious. One or two pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced; a small bunch of basil or mint leaves, gently slapped to release smells; a few sprig or two of freshly chopped rosemary or thyme; or a 3-inch piece of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed and smashed are some suggestions.

To make an immediate party cocktail, combine the resultant fruity-sweet vinegar with club soda (and, if you want to go all-out, tequila or gin, no one will stop you!). Drink the shrub right immediately, but it will taste much better after a week or so, when the tastes have had time to blend.

Summer Fruit Shrub Recipe

  • 1 pound plums, apricots, peaches, or other fruit, unpeeled but pitted and diced
  • 3 quarts sugar
  • 3 quarts white wine vinegar
Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
  • A serving contains 205 calories, 0 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 0 grams of monounsaturated fat (0 grams of polyunsaturated fat), 50 grams of carbs (2 grams of dietary fiber), 49 grams of sugars (1 gram of protein), and 1 mg of sodium. Please keep in mind that the information displayed is Edamam’s best guess based on the ingredients and preparation provided. However, it should not be viewed as a substitute for the advise of a qualified nutritionist.


  1. In a glass or other nonplastic mixing bowl, combine the fruit and sugar, breaking up or crushing the fruit to release its juices as you go. Refrigerate the bowl for 24 hours once it has been covered with plastic wrap. Stir the mixture thoroughly, then add the vinegar and set it aside to refrigerate. Even though the shrub may be strained and used at this point, allowing it to sit for a few days will allow more of the qualities of the fruit to emerge. When ready to use, mix thoroughly to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved, then strain through a fine sieve, squeezing the particles to extract as much juice as possible. Fill a clean Mason jar with the mixture, or funnel it into a glass bottle with a stopper or cork. Preparing a cocktail is as simple as combining 1 part shrub with 2 or 3 parts seltzer or ginger beer and serving it over ice


  • SHRUB WITH CHERRY AND MINT 2 cups crushed sweet cherries, 1/4 cup mint leaves, and 1/2 cup sugar are combined in this recipe. Refrigerate overnight, stirring only once or twice during the process. Combine 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl until well combined. It’s really wonderful with tonic water. SHRUB WITH TOMATO AND BASIL Add 1/2 cup sugar to 1 pound Sungold or other cherry tomatoes after they have been crushed. Soak approximately 20 basil leaves in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar for at least 8 hours or overnight. Combine both ingredients in a container and shake thoroughly before storing in the refrigerator for up to a week. CUCUMBER AND DILL SHRUB should be strained before consumption. 1/4 cup fresh dill is steeped overnight in 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, according to the recipe. 2 big cucumbers should be cut into bits and blended with a little water in a blender. Purée until smooth, then strain through a strainer. Remove the vinegar from the heat and stir in the cucumber juice. CELERY SHRUB SHOULD BE REFRIGERATED 1 pound celery, leaves and all, chopped and blended with 1/2 cup water, adding additional water as required, until smooth and creamy. Strain and combine with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Shake thoroughly before using and storing in the refrigerator. Shake it intermittently for a day or two to get the best results. Strain. To make homemade celery soda, mix in a little seltzer.

Making Your Own Shrubs? This Is How to Perfect Them.

A cocktail’s sweet and sour ingredients must be balanced for it to be considered genuinely superb. Both tastes may be found in a shrub, which is also known as drinking vinegar in its nonalcoholic form. Drink shrubs are made by combining water, fruit (and occasionally other botanicals), sugar, and vinegar to create an acidic syrup that adds depth and complexity to a cocktail when blended with other ingredients. A shrub, on the other hand, might be a difficult element to master. As you might expect, using a subpar vinegar or an underflavored fruit syrup might throw the shrub out of balance, leaving you with a bland concoction that will detract from the flavor of your drink.

How to Choose a Vinegar

Not all vinegars are made equal, as you may have discovered. Avoid using vinegars that have been distilled. They don’t provide much in the way of character or flavor, and they mainly serve to bulk out your shrub with acetic acid. Learning how to make your own vinegar from leftover wines is a terrific place to start, and it’s the quickest and most straightforward method to produce a complex shrub with properties that can only be obtained via fermentation. If you choose, you may purchase vinegars that have been produced through the fermentation process; however, they are often more expensive due to the time and resources required to produce them.

  1. ‘Quality is quite crucial when it comes to utilizing balsamic vinegar, especially,” explains Jena Ellenwood, who works as a cocktail instructor and bartender.
  2. Having said that, because good vinegars are pretty costly, if you’re trying a new recipe, you might want to start with a less-expensive vinegar to avoid wasting your precious liquid on something that isn’t quite perfect.
  3. “The good things may be expensive, and you don’t want to make a costly mistake,” says the author.
  4. Ellenwood also uses apple cider vinegar in her Pineapple Shrub, which is a natural preservative.
  5. According to Ellenwood, “the vinegar I use is typically determined by the other components I’m using, such as fruits or herbs that I want to accent.” “I particularly enjoy using Champagne vinegar and white balsamic vinegar in my recipes.

“White balsamic vinegar has a wonderful roundness to it that does not overpower the other flavors; I particularly enjoy it with strawberries.” In her Berry Shrub, where it is supplemented with thyme, you can observe the effect of this combination.

How to Make the Syrup

There are a number different techniques to create syrup, but they all boil down to one of two options: hot or cold cooking. According to what you may have suspected, heated procedures, such as those done on the stovetop or sous vide, use heat to make the syrup. Blending or making anoleo saccharum, which is simply macerating fruit with sugar and drawing the water out of the fruit to form a syrup, are examples of cold procedures. Most fruits benefit from the use of a cold approach, while the oleo saccharum method may take a little longer to get results.

  • Heat, for example, has a negative effect on strawberries, which turn bitter and lose their flavor’s essence when cooked in this manner.
  • “I let the fruit determine the method I utilize,” Ellenwood says of his approach.
  • When it comes to fragile fruits, berries, and herbs, I prefer to use a cold approach.
  • The hot procedure is undoubtedly the best.
  • “It’s a hot approach.”
See also:  Mantra 101

How to Make the Shrub

The process of making a shrub is not one-size-fits-all, and it’s worth experimenting with different ways and flavor combinations to find what works best for your taste buds. While it is crucial to make sure that the taste profile of your shrub complements the drink in which you intend to use it, this is not always possible. According to Muráth, “Sometimes I soak the fruit in a mixture of vinegar and sugar; other times I just blend flavored syrup with vinegar; and other times I stew them all together.” “It all depends on the ultimate flavor I’m going for as well as the other elements I’m including.” The first way is used by him with his PeachPineau Shrub.

Alternatively, you may gently simmer all of the ingredients in a pot over low heat, or if you’re more experienced in the kitchen, you can experiment with different ways such as sous vide.

How to Use It

Generally speaking, when it comes to employing shrubs in cocktails, their tastes tend to shine the brightest in juleps and beverages over ice, since shrubs benefit from a significant amount of dilution. They’re also best used in cocktails that don’t already contain a very acidic element, such as lime or lemon juice, although there are always exceptions to every rule in life. When Ellenwood creates herIsland Oasiscocktail, she incorporates a pineapple shrub, which is then combined with aged rum, coconut water, and pineapple juice.

According to him, “the sparkling component works really well off the fruity acetic acid bite, accentuating the greatest elements while also moderating the acidity.” “The majority of other drink kinds are likely to have a citrus component of some form or will not necessitate the inclusion of acidity.” Having stated that, you should, of course, feel free to try new things.

Shrubs are also excellent in nonalcoholic drinks, necessitating just the addition of soda water to make a pleasant sipper that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Homemade Shrubs Are Your Gateway to a World of Sweet, Tangy Summer Drinking

As far as utilizing shrubs in cocktails goes, they tend to shine brightest in juleps and drinks over ice since shrubs benefit with a significant amount of diluting. They’re also best used in cocktails that don’t already contain a very acidic element, such as lime or lemon juice, although there are always exceptions to any rule. With the help of an aged rum, coconut water, and pineapple juice, the mixologist created the Island Oasiscocktail for Ellenwood. Highball-style drinks, according to Muráth, should include shrubs.

Aside from being delicious in nonalcoholic drinks, shrubs may also be used to make a refreshing sipper that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

how to make shrubs {aka drinking vinegars}

Shrub. What a delightfully amusing little term. When I enthusiastically discuss my newly learned ability of shrub-making with my friends, the first thing that springs to mind is generally the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which the “Knights Who Say Ni” demand ashrubbery. Of course, the Knights were looking for a shrub that was both green and leafy in appearance. If only I had been present at the time the demand was made. I would have provided them with a far more interesting and delectable interpretation of what they had requested!

  • In his new book, Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, Michael Dietsch goes into great length on the history of shrub-making, which stretches back well beyond even Colonial times.
  • In its most basic form, a shrub is made out of fruit or vegetables coupled with two other ingredients: sugar and vinegar.
  • If you blend them with soda water or incorporate them into a drink, the results are spectacular.
  • When I visited EIEIO, Jay, the winemaker, suggested that I taste one of the Pok Pok drinking vinegars.
  • I was in the mood for a beer, but I gave in and chose the tamarind drinking vinegar.
  • Do you consume vinegar?
  • When I took my first drink of the wonderfully vivid beverage, I realized I had been utterly mistaken.

I was initially taken with the shrub-making process, but it wasn’t until this past month that I got completely consumed with the entire process.

They truly don’t need much effort; all they demand is a little time and patience.

Shrubs can be stored for up to six months, but should be discarded if the shrub begins to bubble or ferment, or if the shrub acquires a slimy consistency.

The word literally translates as “oily sugar,” and it is prepared by blending sugar with the zest of citrus and allowing it to integrate for about an hour.

I was really taken aback by what the lemony sugar did to my raspberry-mint shrub — it gave it a nice citrus kick while also bringing the flavors together.

This approach was taught to me by the author of the book, Shrubs, and it is quite simple to follow. how to manufacture an oleo-saccharum (oil-saccharum)

  1. Make use of a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from your citrus fruits. You may use the peels of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits for this recipe. According to Michael Diestch, limes should be avoided since their skins are significantly more bitter. When you’re peeling the zest away from the citrus, be careful not to remove the tough, white piths that surround the fruit. A screenshot of the results you’re searching for is shown in the image below. Using a large mixing basin, combine the strips of zest with whatever amount of sugar is specified in your recipe. Put in some serious elbow grease while crushing the zest into the sugar, whether you’re using a cocktail muddler or a solid wooden spoon. Refrigerate for at least one hour after covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Once the time has elapsed, remove the peels from the dish. When your oleo-saccharum, often known as “oily sugar,” is finished, it is ready to use.
  • Peeled and juiced 5 or 6 medium blood oranges (about)
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or raw sugar
  1. After preparing the oranges according to the oleo-saccharum procedure described above, mix the orange peels with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and let aside for at least one hour. Blood oranges should be juiced. Upon completion, remove the pieces of orange zest from the oleo-saccharum and whisk in the blood orange juice and Champagne vinegar to the sugar mixture until well combined. Stir well to ensure that any sugar granules are completely dissolved. Transfer the shrub mixture to a clean jar, seal it, and shake it vigorously to ensure that all of the components are well-combined. Refrigerate the shrub mixture after it has been prepared. Prior to serving, let 2 to 3 days for the flavors to come together.
  • An extra special thank you to Michael Dietsch for granting me permission to share his recipe for orange shrub with you! I agree with him that the orange flavor is a fantastic fit for the raw sugar and Champagne vinegar used in this recipe. The following two recipes are my own creations, however they were influenced by the suggestions and instructions contained inside his book
  • Tip: When I attempted to remove the orange peels from the sugar, I discovered that a significant amount of the sugar had adhered to the peels. In order to avoid wasting all of the sugar, I just poured the juice and vinegar into the basin containing the zest and sugar. I thoroughly mixed the ingredients together before straining them through a fine-mesh strainer. After that, I threw the zest
  • Strawberry puree (2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries)
  • Peel and chop the following ingredients: 2 lemons, 1 cup cane sugar, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 30 black peppercorns, roughly crushed
  1. Using the oleo-saccharum method, muddle the lemon peels and sugar together in a mixing dish until well combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour after wrapping the sugar mixture in plastic wrap. After an hour has elapsed, remove the peels from the sugar and place the hulled and quartered strawberries in a large mixing bowl with the finely crushed peppercorns. Stir to combine the ingredients. Stir well to ensure complete incorporation. Refrigerate for two hours after wrapping the strawberry mixture in plastic wrap. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and muddle it even more, trying to extract as much juice as possible from the berries, if feasible. Pour the vinegar into the strawberry mixture and stir well. Refrigerate for at least two days after re-covering the dish with plastic wrap
  2. Or Remove the mixture from the refrigerator, muddle the berries once more, and pour through an achinoisor fine-mesh strainer into a clean Mason jar
  3. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, place the shrub combination in the refrigerator for a week to let the flavors to blend even further. Before usage, give it a good shake.

Even though this recipe appears to be time-consuming, if you follow the instructions carefully, you will not be dissatisfied with the outcome. This shrub has a strawberry taste that is both sweet and acidic, with a mild peppery finish. a bush made of raspberry and mint

  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. The peels of the lemons should be peeled using a vegetable peeler to make your oleo-saccharum before you start cooking it. Set aside for at least an hour after you have muddled the orange peels and sugar together in a dish. Add the raspberries and mint to the sugar mixture and muddle the raspberries, allowing some of the liquid to escape from the berries. Wrap the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill. Allow it to rest for one day. Remove the raspberry mixture from the refrigerator, muddle the fruit even more, and then stir in the vinegar until everything is well combined. Stir the sugar until it is fully incorporated and dissolved. Pour the mixture into a clean Mason jar after passing it through an achinois or a fine-mesh strainer. Refrigerate the shrub mixture after it has been prepared. Allow 1 week for the flavors to mingle together before serving the dish. Before usage, give it a good shake.

That’s all there is to it! What about you? Have you caught the shrub-making bug, like I have? If so, what recommendations do you have for me? Do you have any recipes that you simply adore? Please fill me in on the details! I can’t wait for the gardening season to get underway in earnest. Celery shrubs, beet shrubs, and even herbal shrubs are on my mind’s agenda right now. Oh! You’re probably looking for some inspiration on how to use those delectable shrubs of yours into your cooking. I prefer adding a shrub to a glass of ice and sparkling water, such as the ones seen in the photographs above, but shrubs also make fantastic complements to cocktails, as demonstrated here.

It’s really simple.

  • One-and-a-half to two parts base spirit
  • One part complementing flavored liqueur
  • Half-and-half shrub
  • Two dashes bitters

Simply put the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Shake well and pour into a glass over ice, adding a splash of soda if desired. Decorate with a herb sprig, a piece of fruit, or a citrus wheel for garnish. Enjoy! Congratulations on discovering new preservation techniques, as well as on the joy and hilarity that the entire Monty Python movement has provided us with. Now, go ahead and use a herring to bring down the tallest tree in the forest! XO, Jayme

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