Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub 3.250

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 sweet, dark shrub brings together strawberries and balsamic vinegar. The white pepper is optional, but it adds a subtle note of interest. Combine with water or soda for an old-fashioned picnic drink, or experiment with vodka and gin. Garnish with fresh strawberries or basil.

Make Ahead: The fruit mixture needs to macerate in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days. The shrub can be refrigerated or kept at a cool room temperature for 6 months.

3.2 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: 3.2 cups

  • 2 cups ripe strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 cups good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar


Combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, white pepper, if using, and the sugar in a mixing bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 7 days, stirring occasionally. Taste for flavor; add sugar as needed.

Press the mixture 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 3 1/4 cups. Seal and refrigerate. Shake before using.

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Recipe Source

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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