Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub (And Blueberry Variation)

Last year the local blueberry patches had an amazing year, and I picked more berries than even I knew what to do with. To use up some of them, I learned about a very old method of making a drink called a shrub — you mix fruit with vinegar to make concentrated syrup, which you then mix with water, club soda or in a cocktail for a delightfully tart and refreshing drink.
June 01, 2014


Remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them in quarters.

Combine the strawberries and sugar, and mash them together with a potato masher to release some of the juice.

For Blueberry-Ginger version, combine berries and sugar in a glass jar, and gently mash on the berries to break them up. Add the ginger.

Store the mixture(s) in the fridge overnight. Add the vinegar(s), and give a stir. Leave the mixture(s) in sealed jar(s) in the fridge for a few days.

Strain out the fruit and store the syrup in a glass jar or bottle. Try not to let a metal lid come in contact with the vinegar, as it may rust.

Combine the shrub syrup with soda water (vodka is nice too) to taste. Serve over ice. I use about 3 tablespoons of syrup to 12 ounces of soda but play with it and see what you like.

About this recipe

Recently a friend introduced me to this combo of strawberries and balsamic vinegar and I just can’t get enough of it. Once you try this, you will be all over the internet looking for other combinations. Cherries, which are not berries but rather a stone fruit related to peaches, are also excellent with the balsamic vinegar.

(To further explore the balsamic vinegar/berry taste combo, look online for Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe for Basil Blackberry Crumble. For an easy summer cobbler-type dish it cannot be beat and you can mix and match all kinds of fruit in it.)


  • 1 cup strawberries (or 1 cup blueberries for the variation)
  • 1 cup sugar (¾ cup sugar for blueberry variation)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar (1 cup for blueberry variation)
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar (2-inch piece of fresh ginger, coarsely grated, for blueberry variation)
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