Strawberry Shrub

Today is the first of three slightly-unorthodox drink recipes that I hope will wet your appetite for a Summer cocktail (pun intended!). The shrub can be made as either a cocktail or a mocktail, the latter of which is a lot like the best homemade strawberry soda you ever tasted, and perfect picnic fare.

Strawberry Shrub

A shrub is a cooling colonial-era drink that was served by Martha Washington at Mount Vernon. The surprising ingredient is a dash of apple cider vinegar, which may sound off-putting, but it’s what gives the drink its sprightly taste. The strawberry base is easy to assemble, though you can use any kind of fruit to make a shrub. Think of it as the Revolutionary War-era equivalent of a soft drink (unless they added spirits to it, which would have made it more like a daiquiri.)

It’s an unusual, delicious Summer cocktail, and I hope you love it!

Strawberry Shrub

Strawberry Shrub (Mocktail or Cocktail)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 2 cups of strawberries, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup of red wine vinegar
  • sparkling water
  • strawberries or mint to garnish
  • Vodka (for the cocktail)


  1. Puree strawberries in a blender.
  2. Press through a strainer to catch as many seeds as possible, but don’t worry if some get through – this is not a test!
  3. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  4. Simmer for two to three minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Stir together syrup and strawberry puree, then add vinegar.
  6. Put in glass container, and store in refrigerator until needed. Keeps for several days.
  7. To make a drink, combine 2 ounces of the strawberry mixture with 4 ounces of sparkling water.
  8. Add ice and garnish with fresh strawberry.

For the Cocktail:

In an old-fashioned glass, combine 2 ounces of the strawberry mixture and 2 ounces of vodka. Garnish with mint or sliced strawberries. Add ice and serve!

Strawberry Shrub with vodka

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