Ultimate Guide to Shrub Cocktails


I hope you will agree with me when I say:

 Shrub cocktails are complicated to create but super refreshing to drink. 

Need something refreshing to beat the scorching heat of summers? Well, shrub cocktails are the perfect drinks that will definitely leave you feeling refreshed.

The drink contains a fruity flavor combined with vinegar and sugar. Shrub cocktails are a combination of shrubs mixed with cocktails.

The shrub can be enjoyed on its own with sparkling water, or it can be mixed with cocktails, mocktails, and so much more. There is no limit for combinations, and you can experiment with it the way you like.



Shrub History

The shrub cocktail history goes back to the 19th century when refrigerators were not invented, and the fresh fruits would spoil quickly. Resourceful colonists discovered a way of saving these fruits so that they could be enjoyed for a longer period of time and so that these fruits wouldn’t be wasted.

Shrub recipe for cocktails is basically the method of preserving these fruits, which was to mix them with lots of sugar and store them in old crocks for several days or a whole week. After this long period of time, the mixture would ferment into vinegar. In simple words, it is fruity vinegar. This syrup obtained was then largely commonly used to make delightful drinks.

This name ‘shrub’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘sharbah,’ which means ‘to drink.’


What is Shrub?

Shrub in cocktails is a fruity vinegar syrup, also known to be a very integral ingredient of shrub cocktails.

The process might seem easy, but it really combines the best quality ingredients and flavors. The shrub cocktail history basically describes how the shrub is made. The old-fashioned method of making shrub is to combine equal parts of fruit and sugar and then allowing the mixture to ferment for the next few days.


How is Shrub Made Today?

Instead of waiting for days for the fermentation process to occur, a common and quick way of making shrub is to equal parts of vinegar with fruit and sugar, then wait for several hours to get the best results.

Avoid using distilled vinegar here as they lack sufficient flavor and only add lackluster acetic acid to your shrub. Red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are great options; traditional white vinegar can also be used, but it is less ideal.

Furthermore, you can also use vinegar that has been made through the fermentation process, but they are expensive because they are made using a lot of resources. Imagine using mediocre vinegar and ending up having an unflavored shrub that will leave with the most unpleasant cocktails.

Types of Recipes

There are two shrub recipes for cocktails, one is known as the cold method (explained above), and there is another way of making the syrup, also known as the hot method, which involves using heat to create the syrup. Although the cold method requires more time, it is known to benefit more than the hot method unless you have included ingredients like cinnamon which requires heat to meltdown.

Strawberries, for example, don’t fare well when heat is used. They turn bitter and lose the essence of their flavor, so the shrub won’t turn out to be very fruity and delicious. Later, when you add this shrub into your cocktail to make a strawberry shrub cocktail, I don’t think your taste buds would be delighted with it. You may end up not liking the strawberry shrub cocktail even if they are known to be super delicious.

Hence, a shrub cocktail recipe might seem easy, but making the shrub and getting the right flavor is not that easy; however, you can experiment here as much as you like until you get the best shrub cocktails. You can refer to shrub cocktail recipe books online as people worldwide experiment a lot with shrub-making or shrub cocktails.

Shrubs can be made using many fruits such as strawberry, blackberry, apricot, plum, and many others. Many people enjoy apricot cocktails, strawberry cocktails, and plum cocktails.

Shrubs can last for about a month in the fridge in an air-tight jar.


Shrub Uses

Using Shrubs in cocktails is a great way of enjoying the shrubs, but that is not the only way.

How to use shrub a mix? You can make a shrub vodka cocktail, whiskey shrub cocktail, or you can also combine it with gin to make a gin shrub cocktail. Shrubs can be included in wine and beer too. If you don’t enjoy an alcoholic drink, then you can mix the shrub syrup with sprinkling water or soda water to enjoy a refreshing drink anytime during the day.

If you are someone who hates consuming too much sugar-free shrub, recipes are available on the internet for you.


Shrub Cocktails

Now that we know what a shrub is let’s find what a shrub cocktail is? Cocktails are alcohol mixed drinks consisting of a spirit or several spirits and other ingredients such as fruit juice, lemonade, or cream. There is no specific shrub cocktail definition to be found as a shrub cocktail combines your sweet and savory shrub with an alcoholic drink.

Cocktails are already mixed drinks with fruit juices. You can use shrub instead, which contains the truer flavor of the fruits.

To make the best shrub cocktails combine it with cocktails that don’t already contain a highly acidic element such as lime or lemon juice as the shrub is already acidic itself. It is recommended to use shrubs in highball-style cocktails. You will have to consider how the sweetness of the shrub balances out with the sweetness of the liqueur.

Some known best shrub cocktails are strawberry shrub cocktail, blackberry shrub cocktail, apricot shrub cocktail, plum shrub cocktail, cranberry shrub bourbon cocktail, shrub vodka cocktail, whiskey shrub cocktail. What is a shrub cocktail? A shrub cocktail definition would be shrubs combined with cocktails and ice, a very delightful drink to be enjoyed in summer.

Vinegar is claimed to have health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, increased hydration, fever reducer, and improved symptoms of diabetes.

Refer below for a detailed shrub cocktail recipe.


Blackberry Shrub Cocktail Recipe

Recipe (Preparation time – 10 mins)

Turn ripe berries into tangy blackberry shrub with this simple recipe. Makes 1 drink.


  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar


  • Take a large jar or vessel with an airtight lid, add blackberries and sugar.
  • Mash well the blackberries using a wooden spoon and allow the fermentation process for the next two days. You can place the jar in the fridge or set it in a cool, dry place in the room.
  • Keep checking and swirling the fruit at intervals until sugar completely dissolves.
  • After two days, add vinegar to your fruit mixture, shake and swirl until everything is well combined, and place it back in its place for the next 5-10 days.
  • For the next 5 days, keep checking the mixture every day and give everything a good stir. Once you’ve reached the 5-day mark, start tasting the mixture. If the vinegar and sweetness have melded and mellowed to your liking, use a mesh strainer to obtain the syrup and discard the berries. Pour the strained syrup into a clean airtight bottle or jar.
  • If after the 5th day the mixture does not taste to your liking, leave it for another day and try the next day again.
  • Shrub recipes for winter are no different. You can make shrub using the hot method (involving heat). Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then let the mixture cool down. When it is cooled, add the mixture to a blender and blend, then add vinegar.
  • Pour the syrup into a clean bottle and store it in the fridge.


There are different shrub recipes for winter as strawberries, for example, turn bitter on heat, so it is better to warm them up using a little heat and then add the strawberries in a jar with sugar and place the jar in a warm place where the fermentation process can take place.

The shrub can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks.


Blackberry Shrub Cocktail (Preparation time – 5 mins)


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces blackberry shrub
  • 4 ounces sparkling water
  • 2 large mint leaves, plus more for garnishing
  • Ice


Fill up a glass with ice. Crush two mint leaves and add them to the glass. Let them sit down at the bottom. Pour in the shrub and vodka, top it off with sparkling water. Stir gently and garnish it with mint leaves.

This blackberry shrub cocktail recipe also includes mint leaves; you can skip them if you don’t enjoy mint in your cocktails.



We hope you like the shrub cocktail mixers’ recipe. Try the shrub cocktail mixers recipe at home, and let us know your reviews in the comments below. Making shrub cocktails is all about experimenting and creating the flavor that you like. There’s no strict recipe to follow when it comes to mixing shrubs and cocktails. The world is all yours.


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