I haven’t made a shrub in about six months, so I’m excited to have this one ready so we can enjoy it this weekend in one of Mac’s many cocktail recipes. For those of you who have not seen earlier posts on our shrub recipes and are not familiar with what a shrub is, here’s a quick definition : Shrubs are a drinking vinegar ~ a syrupy concoction of fresh fruit, sugar and vinegar to be exact. Intended as an enhancement for beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, shrubs have been around for literally hundreds of years,  Back in the day they were a popular additive to sparkling wine and rum. Shrubs have been making a big comeback the last 10 years, in large part because of the health benefits over drinking soda and “blue water” and the growing interest in preserving foods. Today’s mixologists are incorporating shrubs into signature cocktails that are both knock-your-socks-off delicious and gorgeous!  You’ll see shrub recipes using everything from peaches & pears to berries and beets. Enhancements like juniper berries, ginger, fresh herbs, turmeric and vanilla bean are commonly added to the vinegar.  Selected fruits are macerated with the sugar and both the vinegar mixture and fruit mixture are left to ferment for 48 hours (or longer) in a dark cool place and then another 10 to 14 days in the fridge. There are hundreds of combinations ~ the point is to concoct something that marries well and if using alcohol, serves well in a glass. In our recipe testing, we found that the shrubs we made definitely brightened the cocktail, particularly if we added just a bit of citrus. What we’ve read is that unlike citrus, a shrub can be shaken in a cocktail and it doesn’t “cloud” the beverage like citrus tends to do. So if shaking, consider adding citrus directly to the glass.

The ingredients I chose this week are simply raspberries, marionberries and basil from our garden. Easy peasy.

makes one 24 oz bottle


  • 4 C fresh organic raspberries
  • 2 C fresh organic marionberries
  • 1 C fresh organic basil, rough chopped
  • 2 C organic cane sugar
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar, with or without mother

Combine raspberries, marionberries and basil with the sugar in a nonreactive container (we used a glass jar).  Toss everything to coat well with sugar and then macerate ingredients with wooden spoon or stainless potato masher.  All this mixture is strained later, so don’t worry about seeds, leaves or stems.  Cover with a tea towel and place in a cool, dark location for 48 hours. You’ll want to stir the mixture a couple of times each day.

After 48 hours, strain the berry basil sugar mixture using a fine mesh strainer.  Pour strained berry mixture into a glass bottle and add in vinegar. Stir to combine. Seal the bottle. To age the shrub, leave in the refrigerator for 10-14 days.  If you need to enjoy it sooner, of course you can.  Leaving it for a week or two just brings up the flavors more.  Your shrub will last up to 6 months in the fridge.