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Rhubarb Shrub (and Cocktail)

This Rhubarb Shrub Recipe is a perfect way to celebrate spring flavors. Made with just a few simple ingredients, it is a fresh, tart, and bright addition to many drinks (alcoholic or non).

champagne pouring into a glass of sparkling rhubarb shrub

What is a shrub, or drinking vinegar?

Most commonly, a shrub is a syrup traditionally made by combining equal amounts of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Its name is derived from the Arabic sharb, which means “to drink.”  Drinking vinegar shrubs act as the base flavoring in a variety of cocktails; the ratios used in shrub syrups are flexible and can be customized to personal preference. This version of the shrub has origins in 17th century England, where it was used to preserve produce in the winter months. As refrigeration came into vogue, shrubs became less popular.

In the early 2010’s, drinking vinegar began becoming more commonplace in American bars. Since shrubs are so acidic, they pair very well with cocktails and can act as a stand-in for bitters.

plate of sugared rhubarb prior to adding to glass jar

Ingredients Needed to Make a Shrub

  • Fruit of choice (berries, citrus , or of course rhubarb)
  • Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • White sugar
  • Salt

How to Make Rhubarb Shrub

  1. Combine sliced rhubarb with sugar and salt. Pour into a large jar.
  2. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for an hour or two. Place the jar in the fridge overnight.
  3. Twenty four hours later, add vinegar to the jar, seal, and shake to combine. Let sit at room temperature for a couple more hours.
  4. Strain rhubarb pieces out of jar and store shrub liquid in a sealable container.

The photo below illustrates what happens in Step 2 of the recipe. While rhubarb/sugar mixture is left to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, it releases a fair amount of liquid and softens.

side by side view of rhubarb in a glass jar before and after liquid has released

How to Use Rhubarb Shrub

The most common use of shrub is of course in a cocktail. It can be mixed with sparkling wine, vodka and seltzer, or gin and juice. In a “mocktail,” the shrub can be mixed with sparkling water and fresh herbs to create a delicious and non-alcoholic beverage.

What To Do With Pickled Rhubarb

After straining the shrub, the leftover rhubarb pieces are still completely edible. You can use pickled rhubarb on top of salads, mixed with yogurt, or on top of oatmeal. You may want to slice it once more as some thicker pieces will not want to soften much. Alternatively, pickled rhubarb can be cooked down into a sauce that could be treated as a chutney.

champagne pouring into a glass of rhubarb shrub

For another rhubarb recipe, try this Brown Butter Rhubarb Crumble!

For more pink cocktail recipes, try:

Strawberry Limeade

Rosé French 75

Strawberry Peach Frosé

Print
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champagne pouring into a glass of sparkling rhubarb shrub

Rhubarb Shrub and Cocktail


  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 25 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Rhubarb Shrub Recipe is a perfect way to celebrate spring flavors. Made with just a few simple ingredients, it is a fresh, tart, and bright addition to many drinks (alcoholic or non).


Ingredients

Scale

For shrub base:

  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb, from 3-4 large stalks (500 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar (300 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (1.15 grams)
  • Optional add-ins: 1 sprig mint, 1 sprig lavender, 1 TBS grated ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (287.5 grams)

For cocktail option (makes two):

  • 1 oz rhubarb shrub
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 sprig mint to garnish

For mocktail option:

  • 1 oz rhubarb shrub
  • 4 oz flavored sparkling water of choice, like La Croix
  • 1 sprig mint to garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine sliced rhubarb with sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add in optional additional flavoring component. Pour into a large, sealable container, like a jar.
  2. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for an hour or two. You will see the liquid from the rhubarb begin to collect in the jar (pictured above). Place the jar in the fridge overnight.
  3. Twenty four hours later, add vinegar to the jar, seal, and shake to combine. Let sit at room temperature for a couple more hours.
  4. Strain rhubarb pieces out of jar and store shrub liquid in a sealable container. It will last for a few weeks in the fridge!
  5. To make a cocktail or mocktail, combine remaining ingredients in an ice-filler shaker and strain into a chilled glass

Notes

Inspired by this recipe. Nutrition information is an estimate based on unstrained shrub base.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Waiting time: 25 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ounce shrub
  • Calories: 110 calories
  • Sugar: 25 grams
  • Sodium: 52 milligrams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: rhubarb, drink, cocktail, shrub

Pin this recipe:

This Rhubarb Shrub Recipe is a perfect way to celebrate spring flavors. Made with just a few simple ingredients, it is a fresh, tart, and bright addition to many drinks (alcoholic or non). 

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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Comments

  1. Sue0523 says

    One of my favorite drinks! Word to the wise – red wine vinegar really works best. I used some cider vinegar I had on hand – still delicious, but not as smooth. Thanks for this great spring refresher!

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