The “Shrub”, what is this mystery ingredient?

In the realm of mixology, the Shrub is emerging as a hidden gem, offering a unique twist to traditional cocktails. This concoction is a fusion of sweet water, fruits or vegetables, and a medley of spices, all soaked in vinegar. While a vinegar-based cocktail may not immediately entice the palate, bartenders worldwide are turning to this intriguing ingredient to craft exceptional libations.

The roots of the Shrub can be traced back to the colonial era, a time when refrigeration was yet to be invented. This ingenious technique served as a means to preserve fruits during long sea voyages. Its peculiar name finds its origins in the Arabic word “Sharab” which translates to “to drink.”

What sets the Shrub apart is its remarkable adaptability to seasonal produce, allowing bars and establishments to diversify their menus and concoct a wide array of cocktails. It seamlessly blends with spirits like gin, vodka, and tequila, creating delightful and refreshing mixed drinks. Additionally, it pairs beautifully with still or sparkling water for those seeking a non-alcoholic alternative, making it equally appealing in the realm of mocktails.

The shrub, once a forgotten gem

The "Shrub", what is this mystery ingredient?

This ingredient has been making a triumphant return in the latest years to the forefront of mixology. Its versatility and rich history offer a unique dimension to the world of beverages. With the ability to infuse a variety of flavors and the potential to elevate both alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions, the Shrub is proving to be a dynamic ingredient in modern mixology.

Bartenders and enthusiasts alike are rediscovering the magic of the Shrub, incorporating it into their repertoire of ingredients. Its resurgence in popularity is a testament to the timeless appeal of this colonial-era elixir. As bars and restaurants continue to innovate, the Shrub stands as a prime example of how historical techniques can find new life in contemporary mixology, captivating the discerning palates of patrons around the globe.

In essence, the Shrub represents a fusion of history and innovation, offering a tantalizing journey for the taste buds. Its resurgence is a testament to the enduring allure of artisanal craftsmanship in the ever-evolving world of mixology. Whether enjoyed in a vibrant cocktail or a refreshing mocktail, the Shrub is poised to leave an indelible mark on the modern drinking experience.

So, the next time you find yourself at a cocktail bar, don’t be surprised if you encounter this intriguing ingredient—it’s a sip of history in a glass.

If you are up to trying some recipes, check out this Shrub cocktails :

Strawberry Basil Shrub Smash

Strawberry Basil Shrub Smash


2 oz vodka
1 oz strawberry basil shrub
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Basil leaves (for garnish)
Fresh strawberries (for garnish)


In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, strawberry basil shrub, and fresh lemon juice.
Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice.
Garnish with a sprig of basil and a fresh strawberry.
Give it a gentle stir and serve.

Apple Cider Bourbon Shrub Fizz
Apple Cider Bourbon Shrub Fizz


2 oz bourbon
1 oz apple cider shrub
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Club soda
Apple slices (for garnish)
Cinnamon stick (for garnish)


In a cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, apple cider shrub, and fresh lime juice.
Add ice to the shaker and shake until well chilled.
Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice.
Top with club soda for some effervescence.
Garnish with a few apple slices and a cinnamon stick.

Ginger Pear Shrub Mule
Ginger Pear Shrub Mule


2 oz vodka
1 oz ginger pear shrub
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Ginger beer
Sliced pear (for garnish)
Crystallized ginger (for garnish)


In a copper mug (or a highball glass), combine vodka, ginger pear shrub, and fresh lime juice.
Fill the mug with ice cubes.
Top with ginger beer, leaving some room at the top.
Give it a gentle stir to mix the ingredients.
Garnish with a slice of pear and a piece of crystallized ginger.

Join the community on Reddit

Spirits Hunters is a community dedicated to spirits and the world of mixology. Feel free to talk about the world of mixology and bartending here!