Shrub or Drinking Vinegar

Raspberry Shrub

Raspberry Shrub mixed with water is a pure, delicious drink for summer; and in a country where raspberries are abundant, it is good economy to make it answer instead of Port and Catalonia wine.  Put raspberries in a pan, and scarcely cover them with strong vinegar.  Add a pint of sugar to a pint of juice; (this you can judge by first trying your pan to see how much it holds;) scald it, skim it, and bottle it when cold.

Child, Lydia Maria. The Frugal American Housewife, 1841.


Raspberry drinking vinegar served at Gunston Hall's Summer Saturdays.

Recipe Adaptation

½  cup fruit: raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries make lovely shrub.  If you don’t have fresh, frozen works just as well.
½ cup vinegar: apple cider or distilled vinegar work really well, but you can also explore with flavors and try other vinegars.
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

Hot Method

  1. Heat the water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add fruit and simmer for 2-5 minutes.  Cool
  2. Add the vinegar, and strain the mixture through a sieve or piece of cheesecloth.
  3. Serve over ice.

Cold Method

  1. Put the vinegar and fruit in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, let sit for at least two hours, or overnight.  
  2. Remove the solids.
  3. Add the sugar to the jar, close tightly, and shake vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Add the water, and pour over ice.

Notes: This beverage is also good with herbs and spices – ginger, cinnamon, tarragon, and cloves.  Substitute a teaspoon of dried herbs or spices for the ½ cup of fruit.