How to make a rhubarb shrub—a fruit-infused drinking vinegar—that can be added to cocktails and mocktails for a delicious and refreshing twist.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.~ Chogyam Trungra Rinpoche

Here’s an easy recipe for rhubarb shrub, a great way to use some of the rhubarb growing in your garden. Today, I’m using rhubarb, but any fruit will work here—berries, stone fruit, even tropical fruit. When added to sparkling water or cocktails, a shrub adds refreshing flavor while stimulating the appetite, quenching the thirst, and energizing the body.

But first, What is a shrub?

A “shrub” is an old way of preserving. It’s typically a fruit-infused vinegar 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 cocktails, 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.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

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 cocktails, 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 alcohol broadens 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!

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Shrub Ingredients

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.

  • Rhubarb – stems only and use the brightest red ones you can find for the best color. Or sub berries or other fruit. You can add berries to the rhubarb for more color.
  • Sugarorganic cane sugar if possible
  • Vinegar- we use raw apple cider vinegar for all the healthy probiotics!

Rhubarb Shrub Instructions

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Step one: Cut the rhubarb into very small pieces and place in a medium bowl.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Step two: Mix with the sugar, and cover.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Step 3: Place in your refrigerator, for 4- 5 days, stirring once a day.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Step 4: Eventually, you will have a syrup. Strain, pressing the solids.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Step 5: Add the vinegar, which will not only preserve it, but will brighten it up and help the flavor develop further.

A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home


Storage

Step 6: Pour the shrub into a clean jar, seal in an airtight container, and store in the fridge indefinitely! I’ve had one for about a year, and it still tastes amazing. When you use it wipe the top of the jar clean.

Serving Suggestions

  • For a quick pick-me-up, spoon a tablespoon, or more to taste, into mineral water or ice water and give a stir.
  • Add to cocktails and mocktails for a tangy, sweet taste, and pretty color.
A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

More Rhubarb Recipes You’ll Love

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A simple delicious recipe for Rhubarb Shrub that can be used to make cocktails and mocktails. A great way to preserve the rhubarb growing in your garden! #shrub #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #mocktail | Feasting at Home

Rhubarb Shrub Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 13 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ½ cups 1x
  • Category: preserved
  • Method: preserving
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A simple  shrub recipe using rhubarb or any other fruit. Delicious added to cocktails or sparkling water. An old way of preserving the essence and flavor of fruit!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups rhubarb stalks, diced into very small 1/4 inch pieces ( or use other fruit or berries)
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar, or any other light varieties)

Instructions

  1. Mix the rhubarb and granulated sugar in a small bowl, cover  and place in the fridge for 4-5 days, stirring every 12 hours.
  2. Strain the liquid, pressing down hard on solids.
  3. Mix the rhubarb syrup with vinegar and pour into a lidded jar and refrigerate.
  4. You can use it immediately, but after a week, the flavors will deepen, meld, and harmonize. Add to cocktails or sparkling water.

Notes

Storage: Shrubs can last years if refrigerated!

For more vibrant color use the reddest rhubarb stalks you can find, or add a few raspberries. 🙂  FYI Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, do not use those.

Use: Add to mineral water for a refreshing drink, or cocktails or mocktails.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 34
  • Sugar: 8.4 g
  • Sodium: 0.6 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. Love the recipe. Going to make it with the new season Yorkshire forced rhubarb.
    For readers outside the USA, it would help to have quantities listed in metric, too.

  2. I love rhubarb and can only find it frozen (and not often) where I live. In Germany I found rhubarb soda and juice. The juice is 70%; and great added to sparkling water. I can’t seem to find the same in the US. In doing an internet search I found your site. Shrubs are new to me, can they be frozen? That way when I’m somewhere that has fresh rhubarb I could make enough to share.

    1. I have never tried freezing a shrub! It’s a great question, the sugar may soften the consistency, like a sorbet texture. Shrubs however, keep forever though when refrigerated, I had one for a couple of years!

  3. This recipe makes a wonderful shrub syrup. We’ve enjoyed it as a cold drink with soda. But our favourite way to enjoy it is in boiling hot water – soooo wonderful when we come inside on a cold day !

  4. I have been making various shrubs for years although I have generally used my fathers method. That is to put my berries or chopped fruit in a large glass jar, cover it in vinegar and let it sit for a week or so ( sometimes mine has sat a lot longer) , then strain out and discard the fruit . Measure the juice into a large pan and add 1 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit. Bring to a boil and then put it in bottles or jars. There is no need to refrigerate this, it keeps forever in the pantry with that much vinegar and sugar. The advantage with your recipe is that not cooking the resulting syrup might mean a fresher flavour and because the vinegar is not added to the fruit , the left over fruit has more uses although I have made chutney with vinegared fruit.






    1. Thanks for this alternative method- I will have to try this Yvonne!

  5. Thank you for this. All ofnus love it. I cant wait to try making shrub drinks with other fruits and berries.
    Delicious.
    I doubled the recipe. Accidentally left it for 7 days instead of 4-5, but all worked out well.
    Yum!!!






  6. Question: all the other shrub recipes I found online have you boil the mixture. Is there a benefit to macerating instead? Also have you tried with strawberries in the mix? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tia- I have only done it this way. Not sure what benefit is to boiling. Yes, I love adding strawberries to this!

  7. Loved it! Looking forward to trying cherries next! We used the leftover sugary rhubarb for muffins and pancakes with coconut too! So good!






  8. Shrubs originated because people had no refrigeration. So why are you keeping the shrub in the refrigerator?

    1. Well, you have a good point there! I’m not sure. That was how I was taught and didn’t even think to question! 😂 But now you got me thinking! Will have to try.

  9. Really simple and easy to follow recipe! I am pairing this with some lime sparkling water and it is super refreshing. I was going to add basil, but mine ended up going bad too quickly – next time!






    1. Hey Liz, normally I would say yes, but in this case, the sugar is being used to macerate the rhubarb- or draw the liquid out. So I’m not sure if honey would do the same thing? Something to try, now I’m curious…and maybe someone out there knows the answer to this?

      1. Maybe something like monk fruit sugar or another granulated sugar would work to macerate the fruit equally!

        What cocktails do you recommend with this? It’s so tangy and tasty!






  10. Hi Sylvia, is there anything we can use the leftover rhubarb pieces for after straining out the syrup? Just started the process tonight, can’t wait to try the shrub once it’s ready!

      1. I did exactly this – used the leftovers in rhubarb muffins. It was great. I cut the sugar by a bit in the recipe since I figured the sugar soaked rhubarb would be sweet enough – wish I hadn’t because the muffins were a little under-sweetened, but still delish!

    1. Straining the juice from the fruit, to make my bottle of shrub, without pressing it I returned the fruit to the jar, added some ginger, covered it with gin then left it all to stand a further 4 or 5 days (shaking occasionally). After draining, bottling and storing my flavoured gin ready to gift for Christmas, I used some of the fruit as a boozy desert. The remainder was moved to a smaller jar with a 2% salt//water solution (with the intention of creating a fermented rhubarb). Despite its soak in gin and addition of salt, the liquid tasted far too sweet to serve as a savoury dish, so I drained that off to make a lighter shrub, replaced the 2% solution and now have a fermented rhubarb to serve on my salads. So 1 fruit, 5 uses and no slaving over a hot stove 🙂






  11. I’ve been making this constantly. My husband and I put a little in a glass of sparkling water and call it a Rhuby Fizz. So delicious and refreshing! Feels festive but without the alcohol. I’ve also discovered some delicious cocktails incorporating it. It’s a keeper!






  12. I’ve just tried this for the first time, have to be honest, when I added the vinegar I said out loud “I hope I haven’t just ruined this”! I need to thank you now though because it’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to make more and try different flavours. I don’t drink alcohol so it’s great to have another interesting, tasty option.






  13. I make this every spring and it is amazing. Simple to make and the perfect way to preserve rhubarb from our garden.






    1. Thanks Julie, So happy you enjoyed the recipe and appreciate you taking the time to rate! Thanks!!!

  14. Just added the vinegar to my shrub. Can’t wait to taste next week. 🙂 How long will it keep in the fridge? Also looking forward to tossing the leftover rhubarb into my granola and smoothies!

  15. Ah! I have rhubarb shrub recipe going up tomorrow! Mind meld!! So cool you do a cold method as well 🙂 Gorgeous!

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