Refreshing Strawberry Shrub

If you’ve never tasted a shrub drink, you’re in for a treat! Made with ripe strawberries, a few basil leaves, sugar, and apple cider vinegar, this strawberry shrub is a refreshing way to enjoy the season’s freshest strawberries in a cocktail or mocktail. 

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What is a Shrub Drink?

A shrub is a nonalcoholic syrup made from any ripe, seasonal fruit, sugar, and flavored vinegar, usually in a 1:1:1 ratio.  It’s tart and tangy from the vinegar but sweet from the fruit and sugar, and full of delicious fresh fruit flavor.

The best thing about shrub syrup is that it lasts for months in the refrigerator, allowing you to enjoy a seasonal fruit flavor for a very long time. It’s basically one way to preserve fresh fruit for drinking.

I always make a spiced blood orange shrub in the late winter when blood oranges are in season. This strawberry basil shrub syrup is delightful in early summer when ripe, juicy strawberries are available.

Why This Recipe Works 

  • EASY - This recipe takes about 15 minutes to make with only four ingredients.
  • REFRESHING - Vinegar gives shrub syrup a surprising tangy flavor that refreshes and cleanses your palate. It balances the sweetness of the fruit and sugar, making shrub syrup different from any other sweet syrup flavoring in a soft drink or cocktail. 
  •  FLEXIBLE - Add a splash to seltzer water or ginger beer and ice for a quick, flavorful mocktail.  Or, top it off with vodka, rum, or bourbon for a cocktail.

Recipe Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a strawberry shrub. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.

Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Ingredients needed to make a strawberry shrub.

Strawberries. This recipe requires one pound of very ripe, juicy strawberries. 

Sugar. It draws out the juice and natural sugars from the strawberries to make the syrup. Use white sugar for a bright strawberry flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount to your desired level of sweetness.

Vinegar. I love apple cider vinegar for this recipe. It has a slightly sweet, fruity flavor and works well. I don’t recommend white distilled vinegar because the flavor is a bit too sharp and acidic. Other vinegar options are listed in the next section.

Fresh basil. I add a few leaves because strawberries and basil are delicious together. It’s optional, but I hope you’ll try it!

Substitutions and Variations

  • To make a lower-sugar version, use ⅔ part white sugar and ⅓ part zero-calorie sweetener.  You can also use less sugar and skip any other sweetener, but it may be quite vinegary.
  • Mix other ripe berries with the strawberries. Blackberries or raspberries would be delicious.
  • Try these other types of vinegar: red wine, white wine vinegar, champagne, or balsamic vinegar.
  • Experiment with other herbs or spices, like mint, lavender, fresh ginger, or a vanilla pod. 

How to Make a Strawberry Shrub

1. Hull and slice the strawberries. Place the strawberries and sugar in a bowl with a lid or a two-quart large measuring cup with a lid

Steps 1 & 2 to make a strawberry shrub.

2. Mash the strawberries and sugar. Use a muddler, fork, or potato masher to smash the strawberries and incorporate them with the sugar.

3. Add a few large basil leaves. Mash these once or twice to release the oils. Cover the container and refrigerate it for 24-48 hours. The longer it sits, the more strawberry juice you’ll have.

Steps 3 & 4 to make a strawberry shrub.

4. Strain the strawberries. After it’s rested for one or two days, pour the strawberries, basil, and juice through a mesh strainer set over a 16-ounce measuring cup.

5. Press the fruit to extract all of the juice.  Use a spatula or large spoon to press the fruit into the strainer. If desired, reserve the fruit to top yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal.  You should have close to ¾ cup of liquid. 

Steps 5 & 6 to make a strawberry shrub.


6. Combine the strawberry syrup with the vinegar. Use a mason jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Mix or shake the shrub syrup well and refrigerate it for at least 48 hours before using.

Expert Tips

  • Use the freshest strawberries available, not frozen strawberries or berries that are about to go bad. Choose those that are uniformly red and without white or greenish areas on the bottom. These will be too sour.
  • If you’re unsure about whether you’ll like the vinegar flavor, start slow. Use about ½ to ⅔ cup of vinegar and taste the shrub syrup. You can always add more vinegar if you want it tangier. 
  • Add extra sugar if you want a sweeter shrub. If your strawberries are very sweet, you may need less sugar.
  • If you get less than ¾ cup of juice from your fruit, use less vinegar. Aim for a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and syrup or to taste.
A glass of strawberry shrub with a jar of shrub syrup in the background.

Serving Suggestions

To drink a strawberry shrub, fill an eight-ounce glass with ice. Add about two tablespoons of the shrub syrup to the glass. Top it off with seltzer water and, if desired, a shot of vodka or rum. Stir well, and enjoy!

This shrub is refreshing with summer appetizers like:

Recipe FAQs 

How long with a shrub last?

Store the shrub syrup in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. It should last at least eight weeks. If you don't open it often, it should last up to three months.

How long should you refrigerate shrub syrup before drinking it?

You can drink it immediately, but it tastes even better after it sits in the refrigerator for a week. The flavors will combine and mellow.

Other Fruit Beverage Recipes

Seasonal fruit makes the best beverages. Try these other recipes too.

Recipe

A glass of strawberry shrub with a jar of shrub syrup in the background.

Refreshing Strawberry Shrub

A refreshing, tangy nonalcoholic fruit syrup for cocktails or mocktails
4 from 10 votes
Print Pin
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Lower Carb, Heart Healthy, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
refrigerator rest: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 57kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound very ripe strawberries
  • ¾ cup sugar or up to one cup
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar or less to taste

Instructions

  • Hull the strawberries, and cut them into quarters. 
  • Place the strawberries and sugar into a bowl that has a lid. Mash or muddle the berries and sugar until the berries are mostly broken apart. 
  • Add the basil leaves to the bowl with the berries and sugar. Mash the basil once or twice to release the oils. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
  • Stir the berries to dissolve as much sugar as possible. Strain the liquid and any undissolved sugar into a measuring cup.
    Put the fruit and basil into a sieve or fine mesh strainer and press it with a spatula to remove as much of the juice as possible. You should have about ¾ cup of syrup.
  • Discard the fruit and basil, or use it to top ice cream or yogurt if you like.
  • Add the vinegar to the strawberry-basil syrup and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into a jar or bottle with a lid and refrigerate for at least a week.
  • To serve, fill a glass with ice and sparkling water. Add about 2 tablespoons of the shrub syrup (or to taste) and stir. If desired, add alcohol.

Notes

Store syrup in a mason jar in the refrigerator. It should last at least three months if you don't open it frequently. 
This recipe makes approximately 1 ½ cups. The nutrition info is for one serving or 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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4 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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