Our Easy Strawberry-Lemonade Shrub Is The Best Way To Use Your Summer Strawberries

Our Easy Strawberry-Lemonade Shrub Is The Best Way To Use Your Summer Strawberries

We’re in our colonial era, and trust us, after taking a sip of this shrub, you will be too. Originating in 17th century England as a method to preserve fruit, shrubs eventually made their way over to colonial America, evolving into fruit- and vinegar-infused syrups used as a mixer for water, seltzer, and cocktails. This strawberry-lemonade version only takes 4 ingredients to create, and will be the base for the most refreshing summer mocktails (and more!). Here are some tips on how to make it.

The syrup:
The shrub syrup-making process is very easy and hands-off. Sliced strawberries and the zest and flesh of a lemon are mixed with sugar and left to infuse at room temperature until it transforms into a vibrant pink elixir. It just needs the occasional stir. We hold off on adding the vinegar until after straining—that way, you have total control over the tartness of the syrup. We use golden balsamic vinegar here—it gives a similar taste to classic balsamic, but with a lighter flavor and color that blends into our shrub.

The strawberries:
The key to a stellar shrub lies in the quality of the strawberries—go with the most ripe or even overripe berries you can find; otherwise, you may end up with a lackluster shrub.

This recipe will yield 3 cups shrub syrup. We give the ratios to how to make one drink, but you can easily scale up for two or a crowd to use up that extra syrup and fresh strawberries.

The syrup can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 month. And don’t you dare toss the leftover fruit: It can be used to top cake or ice cream, or mixed into yogurt. Once you're ready to enjoy it, simply mix a splash of shrub into a frosty glass of seltzer and prepare to be refreshed.

Did you try making this? Let us know how it went in the comments!

Yields: 1 serving

Prep Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 6 hours 20 mins


Strawberry-Lemonade Shrub Syrup

  • 2 c.

    (400 g.) granulated sugar

  • 2

    lemons, zested, pith removed, fruit coarsely chopped

  • 1

    (1-lb.) container ripe strawberries, hulled, sliced

  • 1 c.

    golden balsamic vinegar


  • 1

    to 2 fresh strawberries, hulled

  • Ice

  • Plain seltzer, for topping off

  • Lemon slices and fresh sprig mint or basil, for serving


Shrub Syrup

  1. In a medium nonreactive bowl, using your fingers, rub sugar into lemon zest until fragrant. Add strawberries and chopped lemon fruit and stir well to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, at least 6 hours or up to 24.

  2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, gently pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Stir in vinegar and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Make Ahead: Syrup can be made 1 month ahead. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.


  1. In a glass, muddle strawberries and 2 tablespoons shrub syrup until strawberries are broken up into small pieces.

  2. Fill glass with ice and top off with seltzer. Garnish with a lemon slice and mint sprig.

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