Fruit Shrubs Recipe

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Fruit Shrubs
Makes1 bottle+
Total Time10 mins

Love to mix upcocktail recipesfor friends and family? Then this fruit shrubs recipe is a handy one to have up your sleeve for dinner parties and summer gatherings. Fruit shrubs syrup forms the basis of many a berry cocktail.

Fruit shrubs syrup is a homemade drinking vinegar that can be topped up with Champagne, gin or sparkling wine to make a delicious fruity cocktail. Fruit shrub cocktails are an old-fashioned cocktail that’s enjoyed a revival in recent years. They have become a fixture of hip bar menus and a favourite with mixologists. If you’ve got a glut of summer fruits, making a shrub is the perfect way to get creative and make sure the fruit doesn’t go to waste.

To make a fruit shrub syrup, all you need is vinegar, fresh fruit and caster sugar. You simply heat the vinegar (we like white wine or apple cider vinegar) with the berries then steep them together overnight to make a flavoursome mixture. Then you heat the fruity vinegar with the sugar to make a delicious syrup. If you’re a fan of sweet and sour flavour combinations then fruit shrubs are something you have to try.

Once you’ve made your fruit shrubs syrup, it will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a month. It’s a great get-ahead cocktail recipe ingredient if you’re planning a summer barbecue or party. To turn it into fabulous cocktails, just top up with vodka, gin or your favourite sparkling wine. Try serving it in Champagne coupe glasses with a few fresh berries added for a stylish finish. Delicious.

How to Make Fruit Shrubs

1. Heat the vinegar in a saucepan with the berries, simmer for 5 minutes then put into a glass bowl. Cool, cover and leave in the fridge overnight or for up to 4 days.

2. Now strain it through a fine sieve into a measuring jug and discard the fruit pulp. Add a third of the liquid volume in sugar, ie if you have 600ml liquid, add 200g sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Put into a sterilised jar or bottle and store in the fridge. It will keep for a month. Delicious as a base with sparkling wine and gin!


  • 500ml vinegar
  • 750g berries, chopped, plus extra berries to serve (optional)
  • caster sugar

Jane Curran is a freelance food editor, stylist, writer and consultant based in Cape Town. Former food director of TI Media & woman&home. All about food, wine (dipWSET), gardening and the Arsenal.