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mason jars with iced shrub (the drink) and the words How to make your own homemade shrub.
March 19, 2017 Drinks, For a Potluck, Fruits, Recipes, Tasty DIY

How to Make your own Homemade Shrub or Drinking Vinegar – Cold Process

Updated May 2023

After trying Black Cherry Shrub , we were so floored by the ease of making it, and pleased with the flavor results, that we’ve tried a few more variations. We’re sharing how to make your own homemade shrub without the need for cooking.


Cooking the Peaches, Ginger, Vanilla Bean & sugar for Shrub

That Black Cherry version that we made spent some time on the stove in order to speed up the  sugar dissolving and the break down of fruits before the straining; separating the meats from the resulting syrup. We prepared a Peach Ginger Vanilla Shrub in the same manner, simply swapping the fruit and adding a couple of slices of fresh ginger root and a partially spent vanilla bean that I pulled from my homemade vanilla extract bottle. There were still some bean flecks and flavoring that remained, which was sufficient for this small preparation.

You can get similar results in a cold process – in which no extra water, and no heating is needed. It does require more time, but it seems to produce a more mellow syrup, which is worth the wait if subtle nuances in flavor matter to you. This is a wonderful route to go if you’re just needed to rescue a bit of fruit and have zero time for prepping.

Here’s how simple it is:

Following the general ratio of 1 part sugar : 1 part fruit : 1 part vinegar for the finished product

Red Raspberry Cold Process Shrub Fillmore Container

Red Raspberries in their sugar bath for a cold process Shrub

  • Put clean fruit (cut/roughly chopped/broken) into a bowl.
  • Add sugar & fold it into fruit so that fruits are covered with the sugar.
  • Cover the bowl & set aside to allow the release of juices. If I’m going away or if it’s over night, I set it into the refrigerator, but this does slow down the process of the sugar getting dissolved by the juice. It can sit in the refrigerator for a day or 2 depending on your timing & the fruit.
  • When it appears that juices are sufficiently released and the sugar is dissolved, strain out the meat/pulp.
  • Put the resulting fruit syrup into a jar, and add the appropriate portion of apple cider vinegar.
  • Cap, Label, Refrigerate.  We like to use jars we have on hand, but our reCAP POUR Caps are great for this! POUR cap Fillmore ContainerYou might be anxious to try your shrub right away…which is fine. However, if you allow it to rest in the refrigerator for a day or more, you’ll find that the flavors seem more harmonious than at first.










Post a Comment

  1. Abi Posted March 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    How strong is the vinegar flavor in these?

    • Fillmore Container Posted March 27, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      It really depends on how you’re using the shrub, and on the particular flavor profiles of the fruits used. Some you may like right away, and others you may wish to let mellow out for a few days. A little extra time allows the flavors to mellow out a bit.

  2. Jan Posted March 31, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Can you substitute Stevia for the sugar? My husband is diabetic.

    • Fillmore Container Posted April 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Hello Jan, Great question & Good news…since the vinegar is doing the heavy work of preserving in this case, the sugar is highly adjustable to your preferences. A couple of thoughts on the stevia – since I haven’t tried it in this application, I’m not sure how much of it you’ll need/like. It may take some testing. I’ve not used the powdered form to draw out fruit juices…if you find that it doesn’t work as well, you may want to do the cooked version in order to get those juices flowing. You’ve made me curious…since I grow my own stevia to throw in with batches of home brewed tea or lemon grass, I’m going to try putting a little bit of the fresh stevia in with my fruit for the cooked method. Hmmm. I’ll report back on that….and I’ll be curious to see what results you experience!

  3. Jana Posted May 18, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    You mentioned in the cooked version adding a vanilla bean from your homemade vanilla extract. I wanted to try the cooked version, can you share your homemade vanilla recipe?

  4. Kitty Pearl Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    OMG I can’t wait to do this!!!

  5. rebecca sunderman Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never even heard of a shrub in this context before. Once you’ve made this fermented syrup (??) and let it mellow in the fridge for a day or two – or more? – how do you serve it? The photo show a glass (jar) with ice in it – is this fermented concoction diluted with water or some other liquid? Anything else added? Thanks

    • Fillmore Container Posted June 1, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Rebecca,
      To serve you can mix a bit of the shrub syrup into a glass of still or sparkling water. Taste and add more syrup, if desired. We do like ice in ours, especially since we tend to enjoy them on hot summer days. Shrub syrups may also be used as cocktail mixers, in salad dressings, and more. Enjoy!

  6. Linda Kiefer Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    My recipe from a old cookbook is simple and forgiving, Put your fruit in a gallon jar and cover with vinegar. Let stand. You can keep adding fruit and vinegar as supplies become available. This does not require refrigeration. Agitate occasionally. Strain off and discard fruit. For every pint of juice/vinegar solution add one pound of sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar dissolves. Bottle and cap. No sealing or refrigeration required due to the high sugar and vinegar content. I have used this method with white vinegar and rose petals with very good results.

    • Fillmore Container Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for sharing. We have not tried this method, so can’t speak to how it turns out. I would suggest you use a secure bottling method such as an EZ Cap bottle, to ensure carbonation doesn’t cause any unwanted explosions of bottles.

  7. Jaime Doornbos Posted April 24, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Is it one part vinegar to equal the result of the sugar and fruit or one part of the initial amount? Example: 1 c berries, 1 c sugar 1 c vinegar or vinegar to equal the amount left after berries and sugar combine?

    • Fillmore Container Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Hi Jamie,
      The generally accepted ratio for a shrub is equal parts fruit, sugar & vinegar. For example – 1 c berries, 1 c sugar 1 c vinegar.

  8. Terri Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Will this work with 100% fruit juice?

    • Fillmore Container Posted April 29, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Terri,

      Are you thinking of swapping the fresh fruit with fruit juice? You could certainly give it a try. We do like using fresh fruit, and have not tried using fruit juice. Let us know how it turns out.

  9. shelley Posted July 8, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Oh I just made a berry shrub and put in a small canning jar, then left in a cool dark area in my house. The ingredients are just berries & vinegar. According to the blog it sits for 14 days. But now I’m not sure about jar explosion? Should just leave it be? I’m a novice at this.

    • Fillmore Container Posted March 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Since our homemade shrubs aren’t tested for shelf stability, we keep ours in the refrigerator.

  10. Becky Posted August 9, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never drunk a shrub before – how do I use the berry/peach shrub?

    • Fillmore Container Posted August 14, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Becky,
      Shrubs can be served just over ice. Or they are often topped with either cold water, club soda, or ginger ale, etc.