Elderberry Shrub

Elderberry Shrub
Our Shrub recipe is inspired by the old fashioned fruit-infused vinegar drink dating back to the colonial days. Before refrigeration, folks often preserved the fruit they had grown by creating fruit and vinegar syrups that could be used throughout the year.  Also known as Drinking Vinegar, Shrubs are making a big come back as the base for fantastic cocktails.  The teetotalers among us need not feel left out- one ounce of fruit infused vinegar syrup mixed with about 6 to 8 ounces of still or sparkling water is absolutely delicious!

We've been experimenting with Shrubs in our home kitchen using whole elderberries.  We've also found that using our Elderberry Extract works just as well, which is good news if you don't have any fresh or frozen elderberries!  We like the results best when we use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  Feel free to experiment with red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and champagne vinegar too!

Using Fresh or Frozen Elderberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen elderberries
  • 1 cup Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 cup organic sugar (to your desired sweetness)
  1. Place fresh or frozen elderberries in a quart mason jar with a good fitting lid. Pour vinegar over elderberries and add additional flavorings (see below). Place in refrigerator for 3 days, occasionally giving the jar a swirl to help distribute ingredients.
  2. Pour vinegar solution, which is now a beautiful purple, through a sieve into a saucepan. Mush berries caught in sieve with the back of a fork to express the rest of the juice. Add sugar and bring to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes, stirring, to create syrup. Let cool and bottle, store in the refrigerator.

Using Elderberry Extract
  1. Cold Method:  Simply combine all of the ingredients in a quart sized mason jar, seal, shake a couple times and put in the fridge.  Give it a good shake once or twice a day until the sugar is completely dissolved, which takes about 24 to 36 hours.  If adding one of the optional flavors below, strain the shrub through a fine sieve, re-bottle, and store in the fridge for use. The cold method produces a brighter, tangier taste profile with stronger notes of vinegar.
  2. Traditional Syrup Method: Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, including one of the flavor additions below if desired. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring until all sugar has dissolved- about 4 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and bottle in a quart mason jar, cool and refrigerate. This method produces a smoother, rounder flavored syrup.
Optional Flavor Additions:
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger, or 1 to 2 tsp chopped and peeled raw ginger
To use:
Add 1oz of Shrub Syrup to 8oz of sparkling water for a delicious and healthy soda. For cocktails, try pairing one ounce tequila, citrus vodka, or lemon rum with one ounce of Shrub Syrup. Top with sparkling water, stir, and enjoy!

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