Cucumber Shrub 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Spirits Jul 2, 2014

Shrubs were a colonial-era means of preserving fresh produce, typically using vinegar but sometimes a spirit such as rum. Vinegar-based shrubs can provide a delicious and refreshing nonalcoholic drink option for summer; they can also be mixed with spirits and sparkling wine for lower-alcohol cocktails.

This is a savory-leaning shrub (and you could make it more so by reducing the amount of sugar). For a nonalcoholic option, try mixing it in equal portions with water or soda and floating fresh cucumber slices in the drink. But it also works beautifully with gin, especially Hendrick's.

Make Ahead: The shrub can be refrigerated or kept at a cool room temperature for 6 months.

4 cups

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 cups

  • 2 large cucumbers (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Dice the cucumbers, then transfer them to a blender and puree until smooth.

Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer placed over a bowl, or through a colander lined with cheesecloth seated over a bowl. Discard the solids.

Transfer the resulting liquid to a bottle large enough to hold 4 cups. Add the vinegars, sugar and kosher salt. Seal, and shake vigorously until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to use; shake before using.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times,” by Michael Dietsch (Countryman Press, October 2014).

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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