Learn how to make a shrub drink, also commonly referred to as drinking vinegar, with this easy recipe. You can use any fruit and herbs you happen to have! 

A small jar filled with a peach shrub drink (drinking vinegar) is poured into a glass of ice to make a shrub cocktail.

Our apple cider vinegar drinks (hot, cold, and shots) have all been so popular lately that I thought I’d share another use for your ACV. When you have late summer or autumn fruit that’s just about to go bad, this simple fruit and vinegar recipe is an excellent way to preserve it. 

Keep a bottle or two of this zingy drinking vinegar syrup in the fridge to add to sparkling water or cocktails. 

What are Shrubs? 

Shrubs are a syrup made with fruit and sometimes herbs, vinegar, and a sweetener. These vintage drinks have made a comeback in recent years. 

It’s thought that shrubs came about as a way to preserve fresh fruit juices in pre-Colonial days, as there was no refrigeration. It was around the same time that shrubs began to be used for cocktails, to mask the flavor of bad gin and rum smuggled from mainland Europe into England, according to Tim Oakley’s “Shrub: A History.”

A bottle of Bragg's apple cider vinegar, fresh strawberries, and sugar sit on a counter to illustrate how to make a shrub drink.

How to Make a Shrub 

I learned how to make drinking vinegar shrubs from the book, Weck Small-Batch Preserving, by Stephanie Thurow. I just love Weck jars and this book has some lovely ideas for use them. I’ll link it in the recipe card below. 

An overhead photo of how to make a shrub drink. Fresh strawberries, mint, and vinegar are whisked together in a jar.

Chop one cup of fresh (or frozen and thawed) fruit of choice and add it to a large jar. Top with apple cider vinegar such as Bragg’s, and sweetener such as sugar, coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup. For a sugar-free version, use monkfruit or sweeten at the end with organic liquid stevia (I like Trader Joe’s best). 

Give it a stir, cover, and let sit on the counter for 3 to 4 days, stirring daily. During this time, you’ll notice the fruit macerates and infuses the syrup with vibrant color. 

Bright red strawberry drinking vinegar (shrub syrup) is poured through a fine mesh sieve to strain strawberries.

Strain the shrub through a fine mesh sieve into a clean jar and discard the solids. Store in the refrigerator. 

Tasty Flavor Ideas

The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas to get you started! You can use fruit alone, or add more complexity with herbs or spices. 

  • Blueberry or Blackberry + Lavender (like our lavender simple syrup and lemonade!) 
  • Strawberry + Basil 
  • Peach or Apricot + Basil or Thyme
  • Pear + Cinnamon Stick 
A Weck jar filled with a homemade peach shrub drink (drinking vinegar) on a countertop. This shrub is ready to use in cocktails and mocktails.
Yield: about 2 cups

Shrub Drink

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 3 days
Total Time 3 days 5 minutes

Preserve fruit juices with this simple recipe for shrub drinks, also commonly referred to as "drinking vinegar." Made with fruit, apple cider vinegar, and sweetener, this easy recipe adds zingy flavor to water, cocktails, and mocktails.

A bottle of a peach shrub drink pours into a glass of ice and water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped fruit (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup organic sugar*
  • a few sprigs fresh herbs, such as basil, mint, thyme, or rosemary (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the fruit to a medium to large sized jar. Top with the sugar and apple cider vinegar and stir, breaking up the fruit a bit, to combine. Add a few sprigs of fresh herbs or spices (such as cinnamon stick) if using.
  2. Cover and let sit at room temperature on the counter for 3 to 4 days. Stir or shake the jar once or twice a day to help along. You'll notice the fruit macerate and turn into a vibrant syrup.
  3. Pour the shrub through a fine mesh sieve into another clean bottle or jar. Discard any fruit or herb solids. Close the lid and store in the refrigerator. Shrubs should last up to 3 months stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  4. To use, add a splash (an ounce or 2) of your shrub to 6 oz. sparkling or still water with plenty of ice. To make a shrub cocktail, you can add 2 oz. gin, vodka, tequila, etc. and garnish with fresh fruit and herbs.

Notes

*You can substitute coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, or even monkfruit or liquid stevia (though won't be as syrupy) to taste.

Fruit Ideas for Shrub Drinks

  • Spring/Summer: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, stone fruit, melon
  • Autumn/Winter: pear, citrus, pomegranate, cranberry

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.