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How to Make Your Own Vinegar Shrub for Sipping or Mixing

How to Make Your Own Vinegar Shrub for Sipping or Mixing

Words Jennifer Billock

Looking for a healthy drink that’s great on its own or as a cocktail mixer? It’s time to try these vinegar shrub recipes.

There’s something truly satisfying about a good homemade drink—whether it’s something familiar like lemonade, a tasty cocktail, or a unique non-alcoholic cocktail (which can be just as fun as a traditional cocktail). And they’re even better when you make them using fresh, organic ingredients. You can brush up on your DIY bartender skills by creating a delicious vinegar shrub that highlights fresh fruit.

three different cocktail glasses

Vinegar shrubs—which are combinations of vinegar, fruit, sugar, herbs, and spices—are the perfect syrups to make at home because they pack tons of flavor and are healthier than any syrup you’ll find at the store. Plus, you can get creative with your shrub by adding new ingredients, experimenting with unique spices, and trying different fruits.

Vinegar shrubs are made using two different methods: cold or hot. As the names imply, the cold method blends your ingredients without heat, and the hot method combines everything on the stove. Cold method shrubs are the most traditional but require a few days to sit before they’re ready. They tend to use equal ratios of every ingredient—so a pound each of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Try the hot method if you’re short on time and need your shrub quickly, like for an upcoming dinner party. The ratio here is a little different: one pound fruit with one cup each of water, sugar, and vinegar. No matter which method you use, your finished shrub will keep in the fridge for several months.

Your fruit and spice options are endless for shrubs, so you can truly customize it to your taste. But, for watery fruits like melons, make sure to use the cold method. For jam fruits like apricots and apples, the hot method will work just as well as the cold. You can also mix and match vinegar and sugar types, depending on the flavor profile you’d like.

Ready to get started? Try one of these three easy shrub recipes:

oragne slices and zest and spices

Orange Cinnamon Shrub


1-2 large oranges

1 cup white sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Use a citrus zester to zest your oranges. Take a few minutes to rub the orange zest into the sugar, infusing it with flavor. Slice zested oranges until you have a cup of fruit.
  2. Combine oranges and sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and store on counter for two to three days, stirring once daily.
  3. Add vinegar and cinnamon. Mix well. Cover and let sit for one more day.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the leftover fruit. Pour the liquid into a sealable container. Taste, and add more cinnamon if desired. Store shrub in the fridge.
straining blueberries

Blueberry Black Pepper Shrub


1 cup blueberries

1 cup white sugar

1.5 teaspoons ground black peppercorns

1 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. Combine blueberries, sugar, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and store on counter for two days.
  2. Strain juice into a sealable container. Add vinegar. Seal and shake well.
  3. Taste and add more pepper if desired. Store shrub in the fridge.
cocktail ingredients

Chai Pomegranate Shrub


1 cup pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon chai spice

  • (You can make your own with one part each cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, plus a smaller amount of ginger, unless you like it spicy; allspice and black pepper are optional.)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. Place all ingredients into a pot. Cook over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  2. Let cool. Taste and add more sugar or chai spice if desired.
  3. Pour shrub into a sealable container and store in the fridge.

When you’re ready to enjoy a drink, mix your shrub with sparkling water, invent a cocktail using your shrub as the featured ingredient, or sip it on its own. Bottoms up!

Looking for more liquid inspiration? Head over to OXO’s Good Tips blog.

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By Jennifer Billock

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