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 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star5 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

Rhubarb Shrub Recipe! (12)

Rhubarb Shrub Recipe! (2024)


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