Shrubs for Cocktails

Calling all mixologists, here are some new (vintage) flavors!

Subscriber Patty E. suggested that we share Shrubs with you.  ‘Shrub’ is a general term for a sophisticated drink syrup made of some combination of fruit, sugar, berries, aromatics and vinegar. Shrubs are sometimes called, ‘drinking’ vinegars.  They have a long history in cocktails and soft drinks all the way back to the American Colonial era.  Later shrubs were used by rum runners to disguise the sea water taste in rum which had been hidden in barrels in the ocean.  Shrubs, the vintage drinks mixer,  became less popular when refrigeration made fresh drinks available. In this era of flavored seltzer, grown-up drink syrups, kombucha and healthy mocktails – refreshing shrubs are having a resurgence.

Mixologists use shrubs to enhance the flavor of rum, tequila, vodka, gin, prosecco and other alcohol.  Shrubs, which do not contain alcohol, enhance the flavor of soda water for interesting mocktails. My go-to cranberry and club soda seems boring by comparison.

Here are some shrubs for you to try.  They all come well reviewed.  You decide which combinations of fruits, herbs, vinegars and spices intrigue you.

Blueberry Rosemary shrub includes organic apple cider vinegar, blueberries, organic cane sugar, lemons, and rosemary.  Chair Pear shrub includes pears, organic apple cider vinegar, organic cane sugar, and organic spices.  Cranberry Hibiscus shrub includes organic apple cider vinegar, watermelon, organic cane sugar, organic cranberries, organic lemons, organic basil, and organic hibiscus.  Lemon Mint shrub includes organic apple cider vinegar, organic cane sugar, lemons, and organic spearmint.  Pineapple Turmeric shrub includes organic apple cider vinegar, organic cane sugar, pineapples, oranges, lemons, organic turmeric, and spices.  Made in Beacon, New York, these non-alcoholic shrubs come with recipes for drinks and suggestions for adding them to salad dressing.  Set of five shrub flavors, each in a 2-ounce bottle, $30.


Cascade Farms ShrubsCascade shrubs are made in three flavors: Raspberry Citrus, Ginger Apple, and Blueberry Lemon.  They claim the following health benefits for raw organic apple cider vinegar:  aid digestion, detox, strengthen immune system, energize, increase metabolism, healthy living cultures, antioxidants and enzymes.  Mix 1-part Cascade shrub to 10 parts still or sparkling water. It is the perfect refresher! Made in Washington State.  Three flavors of shrub, each in a 4-ounce bottle, $22.99.


Shrub & Company offers Ancho Hibiscus, Strawberry, Coffee Cherry Cascara, Blood Orange, Spicy Ginger, Yucatan Honey, Peach and Red Grapefruit. Made in California. Each of these eight distinctive shrubs is $19.50 for a 16-ounce bottle.

The Twisted Shrub offers five flavors of shrub, each made with apple cider vinegar, fruit and sugar. Blueberry Lemon, Pineapple Habanero, Strawberry Lime, Apple Ginger and Cranberry Clementine.  Five 8-ounce bo=ttles, one in each flavor.  $59.99.





Calvit’s three shrub sampler, includes Ginger/Lemongrass, Thai Basil and Beet/Ginger. Handcrafted in Minneapolis. Three 8-ounce bottles, $32.95.


Anna's Kitchen Organic Shrub



Organic Cranberry Mint Shrub is made from Massachusetts cranberries and mint. 100% organic. $19.99 for a 16.7-ounce bottle.






Horball’s Cucumber Mint Shrub. $17 for one 12-ounce bottle.





Wild Elderberry and Wild Huckleberry Shrub. Two 8.5-ounce bottles. $28.






If you are feeling inventive and want to try to DIY your shrub, Food52 is a good guide.  Food52 recipe for making shrubs without a recipe.





Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times (Second Edition) .  This is described as the definitive guide to making and using shrubs.  Hardcover $18.96.





These Root 23 simple syrups are not technically shrubs because they lack vinegar, but they are often recommended as drink enhancers, so I thought you would want to know about them.  Cherry Almond is made from water, organic cane sugar, cherry juice concentrate, almond extract and citric acid. Adds aromatic warmth to bourbon, vodka, or rum cocktails and a tart twist to mocktails. Cucumber Habanero is made from water, organic cane sugar, cucumber, habanero and citric acid. Pairs well with white tequila, vodka, or citrus seltzer. Grapefruit Basil is made from water, organic cane sugar, grapefruit concentrate, basil and citric acid. Top with Prosecco or pair with gin, vodka, or tequila. Pear Rosemary is made from water, organic cane sugar, pear juice concentrate, rosemary and citric acid. Pairs well with gin, vodka, or Prosecco. Set of four, 4-ounce Root 23 syrups.  $30.

A Sharp Eye has lots of ideas for non-alcoholic drinks. Flavored and spiked seltzers.  Here are some previous articles.

EANABs, Equally Attractive, Non-alcoholic beverages – mocktails.

Quench your thirst with an ice-cold ginger beer…

Healthy water enhancers for your plain and sparkling water – Hydrate!

Portable, Refreshing, Alcoholic Seltzers – Suddenly Everywhere.

Immune Boost – Traditional New England Fire Cider Tonic




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