Every aspiring mixologist should know about shrubs and how they can elevate a variety of cocktails. No, we’re not talking about the bushes you have in your landscaping. We’re talking about sweet and sour syrups. If you’re a little newer to exploring your mixology skills, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a beginner’s guide on how to use shrubs in cocktails or your favorite alcohol-free mixed drinks.
What Is a Shrub?
A shrub is a syrup made from sugar, fruit concentrates, vinegar, and aromatics. The best shrubs will use high-quality vinegar that isn’t distilled. Apple cider or balsamic are often the shrub vinegars of choice. The presence of vinegar makes these syrups different from your ordinary mixed drink sweeteners. Although they are an ingredient in many alcoholic beverages, shrubs themselves do not contain any alcohol.
When you have leftover fruit, making a shrub is a great way to not let them go to waste. In fact, shrubs were first created in the 18th century as a way to use fruit before it spoiled.
What Does Shrub Taste Like?
A lot of people can get scared away from the idea of drinking something with vinegar. Don’t be intimidated! If your tastebuds get excited by tart things, you’ll love shrubs.
Just like any good cocktail, a shrub is a mix of sour and sweet. You could try using them in place of a sweetener in your favorite cocktail to add not only sweetness but also create a more complex flavor profile. Because of the multi-dimensional nature of these syrups, shrub cocktail recipes are easy to make and often require just a few ingredients.
So you know that shrubs taste quite delicious—but is drinking shrub good for you? It may surprise you to know that the answer is actually yes! Drinking vinegar comes with lots of health benefits. For example, vinegar is antibacterial which may help fight off mild sickness like a sore throat. It may also kill bad breath. If you’re drinking a shrub that contains apple cider vinegar, it could also help promote weight loss.
How to Use Shrubs in Cocktails
Although you certainly could try to make your own shrub, it’s just so much more convenient to purchase the syrup. Not only does Boisson sell the best nonalcoholic beverages on the market, but we also offer shrubs to help you make your best mixed drinks yet.
Whether you want to make an alcohol-free cocktail or you want to include traditional alcohol in your cocktail, there are so many great shrubs on the market that make mixology easy. Usually, it’s best to use shrubs in a drink that’s served over ice because more dilution leads to better flavor.
Unless you have a taste for things that are extra tart, you probably don’t want to try using a shrub in a cocktail recipe that already has some kind of acidity present. For example, a whiskey sour using the 3/4 Oz Tonic Mason Honey Sour Syrup is an easy yet delicious shrub cocktail recipe. All you need is two parts whiskey, one part honey sour syrup, and one egg white.
Best Shrub Cocktails Without Alcohol
If you go the alcohol-free route, all you really need is your shrub, some soda water, and some sort of refreshing sipper. Here are a few of our favorite nonalcoholic shrub recipes at Boisson!
Blueberry & Lavender Shrub from Wood Stove Kitchen is the perfect way to elevate iced tea or even a smoothie. These mixers are made from natural ingredients and this one in particular contains the finest clover honey, blueberry and lemon juice concentrates, and aromatic lavender.
Chai Pear Shrub from Element is packed with health benefits thanks to the presence of apple cider vinegar. It’s tart yet spicy because of the chai spice combination. It’s a delightful addition to lemonade!
Honeydew Jalapeno Shrub from Element is for the mixologist who loves being completely original. However, this shrub isn’t as spicy as you may think it is. The presence of the honeydew also makes it a bit more palatable. It pairs beautifully with grenadine and club soda!
Take your mixed drinks to the next level by trying out any of these shrubs very soon. Alcohol-free cocktails containing shrubs are so good that your guests may think they’ve been transported to one of the finest bars in New York.