Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

Although I am a gardener as well as a cook,… a strawberry rhubarb shrub is not a bush.  Even if it does sound like a fancy new hybrid.  Neither is it some obscure heirloom plant nor new GMO Frankenfood. 

Starting Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

Starting Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

It is… (drum roll)… the basis for a cocktail that is both trendy and historic.  Or a nice non-alcoholic beverage if you prefer.  

My strawberry rhubarb shrub discovery is an outgrowth of the summer’s current strawberry deluge.  I am on my 4th case from my CSA, which I’ve frozen, jammed, doused in wine, and now drowned in vodka.  If you are a seasonal eater, you’ve must get strawberries while the getting is good.

And so I went out on the internet and found this recipe from A Thought for Food.  I had heard of shrubs (also called drinking vinegars) before, but always been scared off by the idea of making a cocktail loaded with vinegar.  Even mixed with plenty of booze.


Mixed with vodka

Originally developed to preserve fruit, according to Wikipedia, “a shrub can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water.  The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar.”

Hmmm, more jam or cocktails, cocktails or jam? 

Straining shrub fruit pulp

Straining fruit pulp

Which is how I decided I must really be grown up.  ‘Cause shrub beat jam.  I remember when my parents drank cocktails while I used to drink wine or beer.  I have become my mother.  Okay hand back the vodka.



What can you do with strawberry rhubarb shrub?  Why not mix half and half with vodka and serve over ice (shown below)?  Mix  with vodka and add sparkling water?  One part shrub syrup to 3 parts club soda (my favorite every day version)?  Some 7up for the kids?  Bourbon?  We experimented a bit Sunday night.  Weekend after all.  shrub-with-vodka

Monday morning it was just little harder to get out of bed…

Did I say something about being grown up?

More Tasty Rhubarb Recipes

Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

Fruit shrubs like this strawberry rhubarb shrub are both trendy and historic. A mix of fruit, sugar and vinegar it can be used for cocktails or soft drinks.
Author: Inger
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Inactive Time 8 d
Total Time 8 d 10 mins
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 92 kcal


  • 3/4 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  • Combine the cut up strawberries, rhubarb and sugar. Mix together until all the fruit is coated with sugar. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Mash the fruit to break it up, then let it sit for another hour. At this point, a lot of the juices should have been released.
  • Mash the fruit again until it is very mushy. Let sit, covered, at room temperature, for 24 hours.
  • Add in the vinegar, stir, and let sit, covered, for one week, making sure to give it a good stir every day.
  • After a week, strain the fruit from the mixture and save the liquid in a mason jar for up to 3 weeks.


I started out using the apple cider vinegar recommended by the creator, but ended up preferring white wine vinegar since it didn't dull the bright colors of the fruit.


Calories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 23gSodium: 4mgSugar: 22g
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

13 thoughts on “Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

    1. Inger Post author

      You could certainly blend the fruit in as soon as the shrub is done and use it then. I don’t know if it would get moldy if kept longer with the rest of the shrub liquid. Interesting question.

  1. Laura Luz

    When it sits for a week, can it be at room temperature, or should it be refrigerated? Thank you, this sounds delicious and I just bought strawbs and rhubarb to start this tomorrow.

    1. Inger Post author

      Recipes vary on this, Laura, but it was used for preservation before refrigeration existed, back to the 15th century. I let it sit at “normal” room temperature but I’d probably move it to the refrigerator if it got very warm.

      Hope you enjoy!

  2. Angela

    Oh my, I will certainly be trying this one!! I have been dabbling in kombucha and am excited to give this one a go, thank you!

    1. Inger Post author

      This is a favorite of mine Angela. At this point I usually just blend it with club soda to serve. Now the winter is wrapping up I need to start some more!

  3. Pingback: Sweet Pickled Cranberries | Art of Natural Living

  4. Louise

    I knew a shrub was a bush, Inger but only because I love to “partake” shrubs while gleaning my plants and bushes of spent buds and leaves. Hey, something has to get you through dead-heading, lol…

    I’m not to fond of rhubarb I’m afraid but, I have a feeling I could probably leave it out and double up on those gorgeous strawberries. I still havent found a good CSA around here. It amazes me because I’m surrounded by farms but all they grow is coorn and mostly feed corn at that!

    Your shrub looks lovely. Thank you so much for sharing, Inger…Cheers!

    P.S. Your cupcakes were a huge success at the picnic. Thank you so much for toting them and joining the picnic game once again, Inger. It was such fun. I can hardly wait until next year!!! (well, I need to catch my breath first:)

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