Cranberry Shrub

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About This Shrub

A shrub is a type of flavored syrup that’s often used in cocktails and other beverages as a tangier alternative to simple syrup. Unflavored shrubs are made by dissolving sugar in vinegar as opposed to water to create a sweet, tart liquid that has a richer flavor profile than that of a simple syrup. Its name also has historical origins, dating back to the colonial era when making shrubs was a popular method of preserving fruits before refrigeration was invented.

Just like simple syrups, it’s easy to make unique flavor combinations for cocktails by infusing shrubs with fruits, herbs, and other additives. More and more mixer companies are adding flavored cocktail shrubs to their product lines these days, but I prefer to make my own at home because it’s easy and much more affordable to do so.

This is a recipe for homemade cranberry shrub that was first used in the Poinsettia Cooler, a Christmas cocktail inspired by the seasonal flower that often dons holiday displays at Christmastime. Find instructions and recommended tools to make it at home in this post.

Shrub Ingredients

To make this shrub, you’ll need the following ingredients:

White Sugar: This is a type of sugar that has been processed, crystallized, and dried. I used C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar.

Apple Cider Vinegar: This is a fermented juice made with crushed apples, yeast, and sugar. I used Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Cranberries: This is a small red fruit that has dark pink skin and a bitter flavor. I used fresh cranberries.

How to Make This Shrub

When making flavored syrups, I prefer to use the sous vide method, but shrubs can be made on the stovetop because it only takes a few minutes to fully dissolve the sugar in the vinegar.

To make this shrub, you’ll need the following tools:

Measuring Cups: These are used to measure the ingredients. I use the OXO 8 Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set and the OXO Good Grips Silicone Measuring Cup Set.

Food Scale: This is used to precisely weigh the ingredients. I use the GDEALER Food Scale because it offers extremely accurate weights and is easy to store thanks to its compact size.

Muddler: This is used to muddle ingredients. I use the HQY Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler.

Saucepan: This is what the shrub ingredients are placed inside to cook. I use the Cuisinart 3 Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan.

Silicone Spatula: This is used to stir the shrub. I use the OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula because its flexibility allows me to stir and wipe the shrubs out of the pan more thoroughly than a spoon.

Fine Mesh Strainer: This is used to remove solid ingredients from the shrub during the transfer process. I use the Barfly Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer because its tightly woven mesh is excellent for removing small seeds and pieces of fruit.

Funnel: This is used to transfer the shrub from the bag to the storage containers without making a mess. I use the ANNIOCA Silicone Food Grade Funnel because it’s flexible and easy to store.

Squeeze Bottle: This is used to store the shrub in the refrigerator for immediate use. I use the OXO Good Grips Squeeze Bottles because they’re high quality.

Storage Pouch with Pouring Spout: This is used to store extra shrub in the freezer for later use. I use the OHMAXHO 16 oz Reusable Plastic Pouches because they’re made with a thick material that doesn’t come open after freezing the shrub.

How to Store This Shrub

Once the shrub is made, it will need to be kept cool to preserve its freshness. Whether it will be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer affects the type of container I use, and I make the decision on where to store it based on when I expect to use some or all of the shrub in cocktails.

Refrigerator Storage: I will usually store our shrubs in the refrigerator when I plan to use them in a cocktail either right away or within a few days. If that’s the case, I will store some in a condiment squeeze bottle so I can easily pour the shrub into a jigger when I make the drink. It’s rare that I need all sixteen ounces right away though, so I often keep some in the refrigerator and will transfer the rest of the shrub to a pouch so it can be frozen and used later.

Freezer Storage: I will usually store our shrubs in the freezer when I don’t think I will use them in a cocktail within a week. If that’s the case, I store them in pouches with pouring spouts because those are made with a flexible material that won’t come open as the shrub expands during the freezing process. I will then thaw the pouches in a bowl of water when I want to use the shrub again.

Flavored shrubs like this one should last one to two weeks in the refrigerator and can last up to six months if frozen. I recommend listing the date the shrub was made before storing it so you can keep track of when batches should be used or discarded.

Recipe

This recipe yields approximately sixteen ounces of shrub, which is enough for anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five cocktails depending on the amount needed for the drink.

AuthorSips From Scripts

Yields1 ServingPrep Time15 mins

Ingredients
 100 g White Sugar
 120 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
 115 g Cranberries

Method
1

Add 100 g sugar, 120 ml apple cider vinegar, and 115 g cranberries to a saucepan.

2

Gently crush cranberries with a muddler.

3

Heat over medium heat while stirring for 2-3 minutes.

4

Cover pan, then heat for 4-5 more minutes.

5

Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

6

Strain shrub through a fine mesh strainer 1-2 times to remove cranberries and any sugar particles.

7

Pour shrub into a squeeze bottle or pouch with a spout using a funnel, then refrigerate or freeze.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 100 g White Sugar
 120 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
 115 g Cranberries

Directions

Method
1

Add 100 g sugar, 120 ml apple cider vinegar, and 115 g cranberries to a saucepan.

2

Gently crush cranberries with a muddler.

3

Heat over medium heat while stirring for 2-3 minutes.

4

Cover pan, then heat for 4-5 more minutes.

5

Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

6

Strain shrub through a fine mesh strainer 1-2 times to remove cranberries and any sugar particles.

7

Pour shrub into a squeeze bottle or pouch with a spout using a funnel, then refrigerate or freeze.

Cranberry Shrub

Shop Shrub-Making Tools

Find collections of shrub-making tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set, 2.9, 8 Piece
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set, 2.9, 8 Piece
Set includes: 1/4 Cup, 1/3 Cup, 1/2 Cup, 1 Cup, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp and 1 T Spoons; Handles feature permanent, etched measurement markings
$32.99 Amazon Prime
OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Squeeze & Pour Silicone Measuring Cup Set, Blue
OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Squeeze & Pour Silicone Measuring Cup Set, Blue
Honeycomb pattern dissipates heat and keeps hands protected; Flexible silicone is microwave safe and ideal for melting butter, chocolate and more
$22.95 Amazon Prime
OXO SteeL Muddler with Non-Scratch Nylon Head and Soft Non-Slip Grip, Silver, 9-Inch
OXO SteeL Muddler with Non-Scratch Nylon Head and Soft Non-Slip Grip, Silver, 9-Inch
Perfect for muddling fresh herbs, citrus fruits and more; Generous nylon head won’t damage glass
$16.99 Amazon Prime
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula - Peppercorn
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula – Peppercorn
Silicone Everyday Spatula is the perfect tool for stirring, mixing, scraping and more; Flexible edges are polished and beveled to get every bit from bowls and cookware
OXO Good Grips Chef’s Squeeze Bottle Set, Plastic, Translucent
OXO Good Grips Chef’s Squeeze Bottle Set, Plastic, Translucent
Set consists of medium bottle and large bottle with one thick tip and one thin tip; Unique attached cap stays open while you squeeze for a precise pour
$11.99 Amazon Prime

Shrub Cocktail Recipes

If you like this shrub, here are a few cocktails made with shrubs that you may enjoy:

Rosemary Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Rosemary Gin & Tonic: A gin cocktail made with grapefruit shrub, lime juice, grapefruit tonic water, grapefruit slices, and rosemary

Poinsettia Cooler Cocktail Recipe

Poinsettia Cooler: A tequila cocktail made with cranberry juice, cranberry shrub, lime juice, and cranberries

Oxford Comma Cocktail Recipe

Oxford Comma: A gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, celery shrub, and lemon

Euphoric Stage Cocktail Recipe

Euphoric Stage: A gin cocktail made with elderberry shrub, cherry liqueur, lemon juice, hibiscus, lavender, and oak bitters, ginger bitters, and seltzer water

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2023-09-24.

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