A shrub is a classic drink made with fruit, vinegar, and sugar. This Strawberry Balsamic Shrub is slightly sweet, and tangy and so refreshing!
Over the past few months, I’ve grown to love the tart, slightly sweet, fizzy flavor of fermented beverages. I make my own kombucha and bread kvass, and normally have a few bottles hanging around in the fridge. But, since everyone else in the family enjoys these drinks too, sometimes I run out before I get a chance to make another batch.
When this happens, I make up a quick batch of shrub syrup, which takes only a couple of hours to make and chill, instead of a few days to ferment. My favorite flavor of shrub syrup is Strawberry Balsamic Shrub with Rosemary.
What is a shrub?
A shrub, in this case, refers to a beverage made from shrub syrup. Shrub syrup is a mixture of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. This syrup is then mixed with water, sparkling water, and/or alcohol like vodka, gin, rum, or wine to make a cocktail.
Shrubs first became popular in the 17th century as a way to preserve fruit, before refrigeration was available. But their pleasant, tangy flavor made them regain popularity about 8 years ago in mixology. Luckily for us, they’re super easy to make at home, and what better time to start than summer when fruit is plentiful.
Shrubs can be made with either a hot method or a cold method. I opt for the hot method most of the time, to save time as it’s much faster. It’s the method I’ll be sharing in this recipe. The cold method involves soaking the fruit with sugar and vinegar for a much longer period of time, but it does preserve the fresh flavor of the fruit.
I like to make strawberry flavored shrub because I often have strawberries hanging around, but you can make them with almost any fruit you like. You can also change up the vinegar if you like. Balsamic pairs particularly well with strawberries. You could also experiment with red or white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. What kind of shrub will you experiment with?
Strawberry Balsamic Shrub with Rosemary
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- plain club soda, to serve (optional)
- Add sugar and water to small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. When sugar is dissolved, add strawberries and rosemary and return to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to simmer until strawberries have softened and begun to lose their color, about 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cub, gently pressing on the strawberries with a spoon to remove extra syrup. Pour into a glass bottle. Measure 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add enough apple cider vinegar to equal 1 cup of vinegar total. Add the vinegar to the syrup in the bottle and shake gently to mix. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
- To serve: pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup over ice and dilute with cold still or sparkling water to taste. Shrub syrup can also be used to make cocktails and tastes especially good with vodka or gin, or mixed with white wine or sparkling wine.
Strawberry Balsamic Shrub Nutrition Notes:
Like most sweetened beverages, the majority of the calories in this tangy shrub come from added sugars. If you need to limit sugar intake, I don’t recommend altering the above syrup recipe. Instead, I’d suggest limiting the portion of syrup you use to make your drink, and drinking it more diluted. Sure it won’t be quite as sweet or sour, but it the recipe will last you longer!