Strawberry Shrub Cocktail
How to make strawberry shrub and a simple recipe for strawberry shrub cocktail made with homemade syrup, alcohol, and seltzer.
We’re doing something a bit different today. Have you guys heard of a shrub syrup? Don’t worry, it’s not a syrup made out of garden shrubs. That sounds horrible.
I’ve officially ruined it for you, haven’t I?
I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the name, but I am a new fan of this ingredient. Also–I made a cocktail! That almost never happens. Seriously, check the recipe archive.
I’ve waxed poetic about my wimpiness (according to the red squiggly line showing up on my computer screen, wimpiness isn’t a word) when it comes to cocktails. Or practically any drink that involves hard alcohol.
I can handle a girly margarita, mojito, and am always down for a glass of wine or beer, but I can’t handle much more than that.
Actually, that’s not true. I tried a draft ginger beer Moscow mule (sans trendy copper mug = sad face) this past weekend, and I think it is my official cocktail. Do you guys have a favorite go-to cocktail? I wanna hear about it.
[Strawberries + Sugar = Day 1, right after combining!]
Anyway, so you can imagine my excitement when I tried a cocktail made with shrub syrup a few weeks ago, and I actually enjoyed it! Since I had no idea what a shrub syrup was until I tried one, I did a little research and learned more about them.
Shrub syrups originated hundreds of years ago, when the only method to prevent the spoiling of fresh fruit was to mix it with lots of sugar and store it in old crocks. After some time, the liquid released from the fruit and sugar mixture would begin to ferment and turn into a vinegar.
A fruit-y vinegar, if you will.
[Strawberries + Sugar = 12 + hours later!]
Nowadays, the most common method of making a shrub is to make an old-fashioned simple syrup by mixing fruit (practically any fruit or berry will work!) in equal parts sugar, and allowing this mixture to sit for a minimum of 8 hours or up to two days. Instead of allowing this mixture to ferment, you simply add in equal parts vinegar.
Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar are great options, traditional white vinegar will also work (but is less ideal). You can even experiment with amounts of balsamic!
Using a pound of strawberries, I was able to yield roughly two cups of simple syrup. Note: This recipe yields about a quart of shrub syrup total–it can last in the fridge for up to a month, but feel free to halve or quarter the recipe!
The next step is to simply mix a small amount of shrub syrup with the hard alcohol of your choice (I used dry gin, but you could also try it with brandy, rum, or even vermouth and sherry), pour it over ice, and top this off with seltzer water.
As you can imagine, the shrub syrup is very vinegar-y and pungent. You don’t want to drink this stuff straight up, but it will mellow a bit with time. If you’re not into briny or vinegar-y things, I’m going to be completely honest…a shrub cocktail will most likely not be your thing. It is definitely different, and reminds me a little bit of kombucha.
But also very refreshing! And a fantastic way to preserve a little piece of summer! Now go make a cocktail. You deserve it.
Strawberry Shrub Cocktail
Strawberry Shrub Syrup:
- 1 lb (16 oz) fresh ripe strawberries cored and quartered (about 2½ cups)
- 2½ cups (500 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ - 2 cups (360 mL - 480 mL) unfiltered apple cider vinegar to taste
Strawberry Shrub Cocktail:
- ice cubes
- 1 ounce dry gin
- 1-2 ounces strawberry shrub syrup to taste, see recipe above
- 4-5 ounces seltzer or soda water
- fresh mint sprigs for garnish
- Prepare Strawberry Shrub Syrup: Combine the hulled and quartered strawberries and sugar in a large bowl. Stir together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours (or as long as 48 hours), stirring once or twice to mix any sugar that settles at the bottom of the bowl. As the mixture sits, it will become more and more syrupy and liquidy in texture.
- Once the syrup is ready, stir the mixture once again, scraping the bottom of the bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the solid strawberry pieces, pressing them against the side of the bowl to release any additional juice. This should yield roughly 2 cups of strawberry shrub simple syrup. Don’t worry if all the sugar has not dissolved.
- Whisk the vinegar (depending on taste preference, add between 1½ to 2 cups vinegar into the strawberry syrup). Place the shrub syrup in a glass or plastic bottle, including any undissolved sugar, seal, and shake well. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- Prepare Cocktail: Fill a tumbler glass halfway with ice cubes. Using a cocktail shaker, combine the gin and shrub and shake well. Pour over the ice and top with seltzer. Stir and serve, and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
28 Comments on “Strawberry Shrub Cocktail”
I came here as I forgot my shrub ratio and am about to get my shrub on. Just a side note, I hate Kombucha with all of my being. I also am not really keen on super bitter things….so I want to suggest to your readers please don’t associate these on the same planet. Start out with SMALL amounts of a shrub in your drink, just a splash! Then as you get better with the ingredient, just like anything, add more. You wouldn’t want to add a pound of garlic to something and then blame the ingredient.
I use champagne vinegar in my shrubs. I also tend to use fruit that may be later in the season that I picked that doesn’t have the same va-va-voom it did when it was freshly seasonal. I read that drinking vinegars are very much like lemonade on the brain. The sweet and the sour sort of have a little contest in your mouth and ends up giving you the feeling of “refresh”! I haven’t served a shrub yet that someone didn’t like and I serve up a lot of drinks at my parties. If you don’t like strawberries as much as blueberries or raspberries, then pick your favorite fruit first then go from there. Citrus shrubs work a little differently so make sure to look up those recipes separately or you will get a rindy flavor. Long live the shrub.
Thanks Laura! I bought some strawberry shrub, but didn’t know what to do with it. This looks great; will be trying it tonight. For fans of Moscow Mules, you might also like a Dark & Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer with just a squeeze of lime).
Yes – love love love scrubs! I always think of them with balsamic vinegar and I’m interested in how it would turn out with apple cider vinegar… bet it’s delicious!
I definitely need to try a balsamic version!
I had a shrub for the first time last year at Big Summer Potluck, and since then, I have been OBSESSED! They are so good. And yet I still haven’t made one at home yet. SHAME. I think this should be my first!
Looks amazing Laura! I love the styling and the photos are gorgeous!
Shrubs are the BEST!! I’m messing with a few different recipes right now. You’re killing me with these photos lately….so beautiful!
Oh! I need your cocktail expertise! I’m sure yours are amazing!
I’ve been hearing so much about shrubs lately; I think I need to hop on that bandwagon! This looks fantastic.
Thanks Christina! They are so new to me too, but I’m a fan!
Mmmm … this is genius! And such beautiful pictures too 🙂
Thank you so much!!
You win the most creative cocktail award! 🙂
Oh my gosh! Thank you–I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to cocktails for the most part
I’m all about the girly margaritas. I recently had this ginger beer margarita, it was pretty great. But the strawberries in this look so delicious and fresh that I’m totally feeling a shrub cocktail over anything else! Pretty, pretty!!
Omg! A ginger beer margarita?! That sounds amazing, and given my new infatuation with Moscow mules, I’m sure I would love it! Might need to take that idea and run with it…
Wow, never heard of this. Really cool! Maybe I can make a shrub mocktail?!
You definitely could!!!
I am shrub obsessed right now! I buy that high-quality fizzy apple cider vinegar and loooooove it!
The strawberry butt photo. I gotta have it!!
Still can’t get our the strawberry butt thing! I have that fancy apple cider vinegar too! 🙂
Sounds petty good to me! Loving the use of strawberries!
This sounds so lovely! Such a yummy cocktail! I love the fresh mint in there 🙂
Thanks Katrina! Hope you have a great weekend! xo
I want this for breakfast! 🙂 Pinned!
Never too early, right? 😉
I’ve never heard of a shrub cocktail but I’m intrigued! I usually stick to beer or wine and occasionally have a mojito or moscow mules but I’m such a liquor wimp!
We’re cocktail twins, because I’m almost always a wine or beer girl. I’m the BIGGEST wimp! I don’t mind a few sips but usually can’t stand to drink an entire glass.