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. Has anyone left the fruit mixture steep longer than the 4-5 days? I was just wondering how that would affect the flavor. Thank you in advance for your advice! Also does fresh vs frozen rhubarb significantly impact the flavor?

    1. Using frozen fruit will just add water to the shrub but it still should work! Honestly I have left the fruit in for a month and it was totally fine. Depending on the fruit, the shrub may stay brighter in color when you strain it out early on!

  2. I used a but more rhubarb/sugar than the recipe called for and am wondering what the ratio of strained liquid to vinegar should be? 1 cup of strained liquid to 1 cup of vinegar? Thank you!

    1. Hi Britta! I think you try to match the sugar and vinegar quantities. So if you use more sugar, add more vinegar, equal amounts so the flavor balance is right.

  3. I make this every year when I need to clean up my rhubarb. Often use 8 cups fruit. It is so easy. I chop rhubarb in food processor, then use your vinegar and sugar amounts. When it is finally done and has sit in the fridge a week or so, I cold pack it so it is shelf stable and can drink it all year.






      1. I sterilize pint canning jars, along with the lids and bands. Then I heat the rhubarb shrub to boiling, and put it in the jars as close to boiling temperature as I can get just transferring it from the pot to the jar. Put the lids on and let it sit. The lids pop, and I don’t move anything for 24 hours to Make sure I don’t disturb the seal. I put it on a shelf in a cool place, and have it all year without taking up refrigerator space. I also have rhubarb that is green, not bright red. So I just put in some red colored sugar after I squeeze the juice out. Better than looking at green shrub to put in my sparkling water. I just started in second batch with 16 cups of rhubarb

  4. Hi! Thank you so much for this helpful recipe, I improvised with some basil too 🙂 I’ve kept it in the fridge to mellow for a couple of weeks, and am now noticing a sediment of sorts at the bottom. Does you know if this is normal?
    It smells and tastes ok (from before I noticed) but I don’t know if I contaminated it accidentally… it’s so tasty I don’t want to throw it out !!

    1. Could it be the sediment from the AC vinegar? The “mother”? If it looks like that it is totally fine.

  5. I made this and let sit for 5 days before straining out the rhubarb. I’m finding it a bit lacking in rhubarb flavour. It tastes mostly of vinegar to me. Do you think I can add juiced rhubarb to it to bump up the flavour??
    I also used the leftover rhubarb to make crisp. It was delicious!!

        1. Not specifically Terri, no. But you could mix with it vodka, gin, to taste. Maybe add a slash of sparking wine, or mineral water. 🙂

  6. I’m wondering if I could do it also like an Oxymel? Adding the rhubarb with honey to the vinegar and let it sit for a while, frequently shaking it. Like this I could also swap the sugar for honey.

    What do you think?

    1. Hi Eileen, Just make sure your vinegar is at least 5% acidity. Use honey and process just like the sugar, letting it macerate with the fruit for a day or two before adding the vinegar. You’ll get more fruit flavor and juice this way.

  7. This may be a naive question, but can you substitute granulated Monk Fruit for the sugar?

    1. You know, it has bee a while since I’ve made this. Do they taste good?

      1. I’ve used the solids to make chutney by adding chopped, dried apricots, almonds, shallots, garlic, crystallized ginger, spices, and a little more sugar and vinegar. Great on baguettes with chèvre!

        1. I’m making rhubarb shrub for the first time and upon seeing that you use the rhubarb solids to make chutney I’d love your recipe. Ive never made chutney before either but it sounds delicious!

          1. Barbara, I just made it up as I went along, based on my impressions of chutney from a jar. I dumped the ingredients listed above in proportions that looked “right” into a kettle, and cooked it up until it had kind of a jammy consistency. Use spices you like; cinnamon, cloves, and maybe garam masala would be good. Sorry this isn’t more specific—use your intuition and ingredients that you enjoy.

        2. Wow, Lars! You got creative with your culinary skills! Sounds delicious with the cheese. I just composted mine and feel like I missed out. Next time I’ll follow your lead. Thanks for the recipe!

    2. They are quite yummy. I add them to my drink and then eat them. I also add them to my smoothies! I do not strain out my rhubarb so the flavour continues to develope.

  8. Ok, so I messed up and put the vinegar in with rhubarb and sugar right away.
    Do you think it may turn out or should I start over?

    1. It’ll be fine! The reason to do sugar first is that it can draw more juice out of the fruit. But it is not a big deal!

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