This recipe developed out of the desperate need to use some of the abundance of cherries we had been gifted.  We made shrubs last year that were so easy to pull together and such a big hit for the seasonal cocktail recipes, that I wanted to try it with these gorgeous dark cherries.  It was a winner!  This spritzer has so much cherry flavor and the hint of basil and spice of the peppercorns makes for the perfect beverage concoction.  Loving these shrubs!


Makes 1 pint

  • 4 large ice cubes or 6 small
  • 3 oz dark cherry basil shrub
  • 1 C sparkling water or seltzer
  • 1-1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 dark cherries
  • 1 nasturtium (optional)

In a pint jar or glassware equivalent, add in ice cubes, shrub, sparkling water, vodka and lemon juice.  Stir. Garnish with basil, cherries and edible flower.  Serve with metal or bamboo stir stick.

COOK’s NOTES:  For a virgin spritzer, omit vodka and mix all ingredients using the same quantities.


Makes 2 Cups

  • 2 C dark cherries
  • 1/2 C basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1 T black peppercorns (optional)

It’s not necessary to pit the cherries, although most recipes using stone fruits for shrubs, suggest that you pull the pits.  The thing is, it’s a lot of work and you end up straining the fruit anyway, so why bother.

In a wide mouth quart glass jar, add in your cherries (pitted or not pitted) and your basil.  With a wooden muddler, mash the cherries so the flesh is breaking down and juices are releasing and at the same time, bruising the basil leaves. This takes about 4-5 minutes. Once cherries are well muddled, add in the sugar and muddle the berries more, incorporating the sugar.  Add in the vinegars and peppercorns and stir well.  Cap the jar with a plastic or glass lid and leave on your counter or in a cupboard for two days (and up to one week).  After at least two days, strain liquid and cherries through a sieve into a medium size glass pitcher. You can strain a second time through a fine sieve if you want a clearer shrub. Discard cherries, pits, peppercorns and basil. Pour shrub into glass jars of your choosing. Cork or cap with glass or plastic lids.  Keep in your fridge for up to 6 months.