Homemade Shrub
Servings Prep Time
10drinks 2weeks
Servings Prep Time
10drinks 2weeks
  • 3cups chosen fruits(stawberries in this example)
  • 1cup herbs or spices(fresh spearmint in this example)
  • 1quart raw vinegar(I prefer apple cider vinegar)
  • 1cup juice
  • 1cup (or less) sweetener(sugar, stevia, honey, agave nectar)
  • 1 fresh herbal sprig(of your choice: mint, rosemary, lavender, etc.)
  1. Chop your chosen fruits (or veggies like beets or tomatoes, if you’re daring!) and herbs up, if need be. The more chopped they are, the more they’ll release their juices and essences – make sure to remove any undesirable stems, peels, skins, or woody bits as needed.
  2. Place all fruit and herbs in jar pack the jar full (with more than what measurements above call for, if desired). Muddle with a wooden spoon or pestle to release juices, oils, fragrances, and other properties.
  3. Cover with vinegar, until jar is nearly full, but with about 1 inch of headspace remaining under the rim. Make sure all ingredients are fully submerged, which helps to discourage mold.
  4. Place cheesecloth or other breathable cloth over mouth of jar. Screw on the lid ring (just the band, without the lid) onto the jar over the cloth, to keep it in place while allowing air exchange.
  5. Leave jar out at room temperature overnight (about 12 hours). You can even leave it right on your kitchen counter. Wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria can then enter the jar, and get the fermentation process going – and keep in mind that fermentation happens best at temperatures around 70°F and above.
  6. After 12 hours are up, remove cloth and cover instead with a piece of parchment or wax paper – this will help to prevent the vinegar from oxidizing and eating away at the metal of the lid. Seal the jar up with both the lid and the ring.
  7. For the following 3 days, shake the jar at least as often as you can think of it, though more is better (vigorously shaking 2-3 times per day is optimal). This does many things: it helps the ingredients to break up, improves the release of flavors, helps with fermentation, and even lends a hand to the shrub’s natural carbonation. Continue storing jar at room temperature.
  8. After 3 days, strain everything out of the shrub liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth, keeping the liquid separate in a bowl. Remove herbal matter and throw away or compost, but keep the fruits. Return the fruits back into the jar with the liquid.
  9. Replace the parchment or wax paper, seal the jar closed again, and place in the fridge. Keep it there for 4 days, again shaking it as often as you can all the while – if you’re opening the fridge throughout the normal course of your day, give it a shake. The fruits will continue to break down, ferment, and add flavor to the concoction.
  10. After 4 days in the fridge, strain everything from the jar. Return the leftover syrupy, slightly bubbly liquid back into the jar and discard the fruit.
  11. Add your chosen sweetener and juice to the jar, making sure to still leave about 1 inch of headspace under the jar lid. Shake well until all ingredients are well mixed, then add an herbal sprig – such as spearmint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, whatever you like. This can be a woody or tender herb of your choice, as long as you think it will taste good!
  12. Replace protective parchment or wax paper, place lid back on, and return to fridge completely sealed, where it will sit for another 7 days. Shake the jar once in a while to help unlock more flavor and fermentation – again, 2-3 times a day is optimum.
  13. After that second week, your shrub should be ready to use and enjoy! Adjust flavors with more juice, or sweeten more to taste if need be.