Rhubarb Shrub Recipe! (2024)

How to make a shrub – a fruit-infused drinking vinegar- that can be added to co*cktails and mocktails for adelicious and refreshing twist. Today I’ve used rhubarb, but this works with any fruit! A great way to preserve what’s growing in your garden!

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In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.~ Chogyam Trungra Rinpoche

Here’s an easy step-by-step into making a fruit shrub, sometimes called a “drinking vinegar”. Today I’m using rhubarb, but any fruit will work here- berries, stone fruit, even tropical fruit. When added to sparkling water or co*cktails, a shrub adds refreshing flavor while stimulating the appetite, quenching the thirst and energizing the body.

What is a shrub?

A “shrub” is an old way of preserving. It’s typically a fruit-infused syrup, made with fresh ingredients, fortified with vinegar (or alcohol), and then aged, which develops its flavor and complexity. You can often find these now in specialty stores, called “drinking vinegars”, most commonly used in craft co*cktails, or mocktails.

Before we had refrigeration, many methods were used to preserve nature’s bounty, saving them for the leaner months. Most of us are familiar with canning, curing, smoking, dehydrating, and fermenting, just to name a few- but in the last couple years, there has been a huge revival of the “shrub”, a way of preserving the essence and flavor of fresh produce – one that’s easy and fun to do at home, requiring no special equipment.

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The idea is simple really -it’s basically creating a syrup by macerating fruit (or vegetables) with sugar and then fortifying it with vinegar ( or alcohol) , which not only helps preserve but continues to work with the sugars and over time, creates complexity while mellowing and melding into a wonderful concoction.

For mixologists, shrubs have opened up a whole new world of flavor, adding dimension and complexity to co*cktails, because the combinations are truly endless. For example, infuse strawberries or blackberries with mint, or star anise with pineapple, or peaches with basil. Shrubs can also be savory, like a tomato shrub infused with chilies and cilantro, or cucumber infused with fresh ginger, or even something as ordinary as celery infused with caraway seeds. Using different kinds of vinegar and types of alcohols broaden the possibilities even further.

So this basic recipe is just a starting place. Play around with what you have growing in abundance in your gardens and see what you can come up with. Have fun!

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For this rhubarb shrub, I resisted the temptation to add any other ingredients, in order to highlight rhubarb’s bright and refreshing flavor. It is just rhubarb, sugar and apple cider vinegar.

I actually made this back in the end of April, and it has deepened noticeably in flavor and complexity.

I won’t go into the ALL THE MANY benefits of apple cider vinegar, because those who know me are sick to death of hearing about it. But I will tell you this. Once I started drinking apple cider vinegar daily, a teaspoon or two in a glass of water, using the kind you see here “with the mother” in it, I have not gotten sick. Not a cold, or flu, going on 3 years. Yes, I am totally knocking on wood right now.

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Cut the rhubarb into very small pieces. Toss with sugar. Cover with plastic wrap.

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Put in your fridge. Stir once every day, for 4- 5 days.

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Eventually, you will have a syrup.

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Strain, pressing the solids.

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Add vinegar, which will not only preserve but brighten and help the flavor develop further.
Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge.

For a quick pick me up, spoon a tablespoon, or more to taste, into cold sparkling water, or ice water.

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Rhubarb Shrub Recipe

★★★★★5 from 13 reviews

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: preserved
  • Method: preserving
  • Cuisine: pacific northwest
Print Recipe


A simple shrub recipe using rhubarb or any other fruit. Delicious added to co*cktails or sparkling water. An old way of preserving the essence and flavor of fruit!



  • 2 cups fruit – rhubarb, diced into very small 1/4 inch pieces ( or use other fruit or berries)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider, or any other)


Mix the rhubarb and granulated sugar in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-5 days, stirring every 12 hours. Strain the liquid, pressing down hard on solids. Mix the rhubarb syrup with vinegar and pour into a lidded jar and refrigerate. You can use immediately, but after a week, their flavors will deepen, meld and harmonize. Add to co*cktails or sparkling water.

This will keep up to a year.


  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 50

Keywords: shrub, how to make a shrub, rhubarb shrub recipe, what is a shrub?, shrub recipe, rhubarb recipes, rhubarb shrub

Rhubarb Shrub Recipe! (12)

Rhubarb Shrub Recipe! (2024)


How long does a shrub drink last? ›

WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE ON ELEMENT [SHRUB]® AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST ONCE I OPEN IT? Our shrubs will keep for 24 months unopened and unrefrigerated (see best by date on bottle). Once you open them, we do recommend keeping them in the fridge.

Are shrubs probiotic? ›

“The beauty of shrubs is not just that they're simple to make at home, and form the basis of beautiful fruity drinks, but that the combination of live, unpasteurised fruit and the probiotic goodness of apple cider vinegar has huge benefits for your gut health.

What can you do with rhubarb? ›

Rhubarb is a truly special ingredient. With its vivid pink colour and distinctively tangy taste, it can be stewed, poached, roasted and puréed in a range of dishes as well as drinks. Use it in a comforting crumble, a classic syllabub, a fruity chutney or a zingy kebab sauce – the possibilities are endless.

Are shrub drinks healthy? ›

Peach & Rose Classic Shrub

Roses are rich in flavanoids, tannins, antioxidants and vitamins A, B3, C, D and E making them super beneficial to skin care. They are also efficient in cleansing the gallbladder and liver, helping to improve bile secretion and relief from constipation.

Can you drink shrub by itself? ›

Shrubs are mixers, which means they're an ingredient in a drink, not something you would normally drink on its own. Luckily, drinking shrubs are versatile, so they pair well with lots of other ingredients. Overall, we recommend using a 1:5 ratio of shrub to another (or several) ingredient(s).

Is a shrub the same as kombucha? ›

What is the difference between a shrub and kombucha? In a nutshell, shrubs are fruity concoctions of fruit, sugar, and vinegar without the fermentation process, while kombucha is a fermented tea drink enriched with probiotics, thanks to the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).

Is shrub good for digestion? ›

Shrubs have a long history as a way to preserve fruits. When made with a raw vinegar like raw apple cider vinegar, shrubs not only have the digestive benefits of the ACV but also allow for the fermentation process and production of beneficial probiotics.

Is shrub a fermented drink? ›

The first American shrubs were made by taking fruit, fermenting it with sugar and then adding vinegar and other spices. The colonists called the mixtures “drinking vinegars,” and they were extremely popular before refrigeration or industrially produced foods were prevalent as a common way to preserve fruit.

Why do you put a bucket over rhubarb? ›

Forcing rhubarb

Earlier harvests of sweeter, tender, pale stalks can be produced by covering rhubarb plants with a forcing jar, tall bucket or dustbin in mid-winter, so the stems form in the dark. Choose an early variety, such as 'Timperley Early', and only use a strong, healthy plant.

What do I do with too much rhubarb? ›

4 Ways To Use Leftover Rhubarb
  1. Candied. Simply bake rhubarb pieces with sugar and lemon in the oven to obtain a candied version that you can spread on toast or pour over a scoop of ice cream.
  2. In co*cktails. Rhubarb and summer drinks go hand in hand. ...
  3. Homemade syrup. You don't even need a recipe to make rhubarb syrup. ...
  4. Compote.

What was rhubarb originally used for? ›

The ancient Chinese used it as a medicinal herb over 5,000 years ago. Native to southern Siberia, it got its name from the Russians who grew it along the Rha river (now the Volga). For centuries it was traded alongside tea as a cure for stomach aches and fevers.

How long does shrub last in the fridge? ›

How Long Does A Shrub Last In The Fridge? Filled and tightly sealed in a jar, shrubs last about 6 months in the refrigerator if used sparingly. With more frequent use, similar to other condiments that are kept refrigerated, shrubs last 6-8 weeks.

How long can you keep shrub syrup? ›

The shrub can be refrigerated for up to 1 year; the acid and sugar preserves the syrup and keeps it tasting bright and fresh.

Do co*cktail shrubs need to be refrigerated? ›

co*cktail shrubs also have several other attractive qualities. They are a healthier alternative to premade mixers, as they are made with natural ingredients and have an amazing shelf life. You can store them unrefrigerated and unopened for 18-24 months or 9-12 months once opened and refrigerated.

What is the benefit of drinking shrubs? ›

Health Benefits of Shrubs
  • It has high antioxidant properties and purifying qualities.
  • It has been known to promote weight loss and stabilise levels of blood sugar.
  • It helps detoxify your liver and make digestion easier.
Feb 17, 2021

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