No Recipe Shrub – Recipe

Shrubs, also known as drinking vinegars, are versatile, easy-to-make syrups made by combing fruit, vinegar, sugar, and optionally herbs and spices. Shrubs are mixed with sparkling water to make refreshing sodas, can form the basis for cocktails, can replace vinegar in recipes when you want to give your dish or salad dressing an extra jolt of flavor, and can be used as a topping on ice cream and other desserts. Add fresh juice to shrub sodas or juice or liqueur to cocktails for an even wider flavor pallet.

We’ve been experimenting with shrubs with the idea of offering them as syrups or bottled sodas, or possibly as additions to cold-pressed juices. We’re also working on house-made vinegars based on fruits and aromatics to give these shrubs a greater depth of flavor. The flavor combinations are effectively limitless, but several of our favorites so far are are pictured here, including:

  • Comice pear with vanilla bean, cardamom and apple cider vinegar;
  • Pluot with fresh thyme and apple cider vinegar
  • Strawberry with white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar; and
  • Pineapple with turmeric, ginger and apple cider vinegar and sweetened with wildflower honey.

Before you begin

TWO METHODS: You have two options for making shrubs, the traditional “cold process,” and a quicker “hot process.” Cold process shrubs taste a little more like fresh fruit and hot process shrubs a little more like preserves. Both are excellent so it depends more on your pallet and how you will be using the syrup. The methods and proportions for each method are outlined below.

FRUIT: You can use any kind of fruit that you like including berries, tropical fruit, tree fruit, melons, citrus and tomatoes. For fruits that dissolve with heat or don’t taste great cooked, like melons, we prefer the cold process. You can use more than one kind of fruit if you like.

SUGAR: Use any sweetener you like. It doesn’t need to be sugar. We’ve tried cane sugar processed to various levels, e.g., raw and white, honey, maple syrup, agave, and even no calorie substitutes like lakanto/monkfruit sweetener. They all work well enough.

VINEGAR: Use any vinegar you like other than distilled white vinegar which is too harsh. Apple cider vinegar is a good all-around choice and pear, coconut, and wine vinegars also work well. Use balsamic vinegar as a flavoring but not as your primary vinegar as it is too strongly flavored. Pick a vinegar that complements your other ingredients. For probiotics use unpasteurized “living’“ vinegar.

HERBS & SPICES: You can use fresh or dried herbs or spices, though these can overpower the flavors of your fruit quickly so use them judiciously. As with any recipe, use far less dried than fresh in the neighborhood of 15% to 20%. Feel free to use more than one seasoning.

TIPS: In general the finer you cut your fruit the more flavor will infuse into the vinegar. If cut very fine or muddle your mixture, you will likely end up with a less transparent shrub. We think this is fine, though it’s possible to make more transparent shrubs. (See Strawberry 1 vs Strawberry 2 in the photo.)


These are basic proportions. Adjust them to suit your individual taste.

Cold process shrub

1 Pound fruit
2 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar

Hot process shrub

1 pound fruit
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups sugar


  • Non-reactive (glass or plastic) container
  • Sharp knife
  • Mixing spoon
  • Non-reactive (flame proof glass or stainless steel) saucepan (Hot process only.)

Step by step

Cold process shrub

  1. Cut the fruit into 1/4 inch pieces or smaller.
  2. Toss the fruit with the sugar.
  3. Cover with a paper towel or coffee filter secured with a rubber band and let the mixture sit from 8 to 48 hours at room temperature. OR cover with plastic wrap or a tightly fitting lid and let it sit refrigerated from two to three days refrigerated. Stir once or twice a day.
  4. Add the vinegar, cover with plastic wrap or a tightly fitting lid and let sit from two to fourteen days refrigerated. Stir and taste once a day.
  5. When the shrub is flavorful enough for you, strain out the fruit and store for up to six months in a sealed bottle or jar.

Hot process shrub

  1. Cut the fruit into 1/4 inch pieces or smaller.
  2. Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low to medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the fruit to the pan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer, stirring gently and occasionally, until the syrup takes on flavor of the fruit, and the fruit is fully cooked. 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the vinegar and bring the mixture back to a simmer.
  5. Let cool, strain out the fruit, and store for up to six months in a sealed bottle or jar.

Juices by category

Drink your greens
Drink your turmeric
Drink your roots fruits & vegetables

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