Clever Cocktails: Strawberry Shrub

In the 18th and early 19th Century, a time with no refrigeration, the Shrub was one way to preserve fruit to be enjoyed outside of its normal growing season. It was added to water for a non-alcoholic drink that was in many aspects a pre-cursor to fruit juices from concentrate. It also was mixed with spirits (most often rum) to make them more palatable.

Strawberry season is in full swing and I love making shrubs from this beautiful fruit. I mix my Strawberry Shrub with a good quality Barbados rum and club soda. It has a strawberry daiquiri character but with a refreshing tartness that exceeds that of the citrus in a daiquiri. Below is the recipe for your consideration. It is well worth the effort.

Strawberry Shrub

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups demerara sugar (plain white will do)
  • ½ flat of fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar (non-distilled)


Put sugar in water and boil until sugar is dissolved.  Add fresh strawberries and simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Add vinegar and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15 minutes or until reduced by 1/4.  Cool and strain syrup (pressing out strawberries)

The Cocktail

In a Shaker Glass Filled with Ice Add:

  • 1 1/2 Ounces of Barbados Rum
  • 2 Ounces of Strawberry Shrub

Shake and Strain into a Highball Glass Filled with Ice.  Top with Club Soda.  Garnish with a Dead Ripe Strawberry.  Enjoy!