Plain shrub

Plain shrub is a type of cold-process simple syrup made with vinegar as the liquid base. Plain shrubs can be used to make fruit-based shrubs with the simple addition of fruit. 

To make plain shrub, take one part each of rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar and add one part of Demerarra sugar. Place this in a jar with a screwtop lid, and shake well to dissolve the sugar -- it is possible to cook the shrub into a more typical simple syrup, but at the expense of freshness. 

Fruit shrub can be made by taking two parts of the desired fruit and placing it in a large jar, then covering it with plain shrub. This mixture should be left at room temperature for a week to allow the fruit flavor to infuse, then strained and placed back in the jar. 

Some popular cocktails containing Plain shrub

  • Sage Advice — Gin, Aromatized wine, Aperol, Peychaud's Bitters, Soda water, Plain shrub, Lemon juice, Sage
  • Ye Olde Quencher — Rum, Bitters, Plain shrub, Seltzer water
  • Back to Town — Reposado Tequila, Aromatized wine, Bolivar Bitters, Plain shrub
  • If You're Going Into Town... — Aromatized wine, Blanco tequila, Rhum Agricole, Bitters, Plain shrub, Lemon juice


Re: Plain shrub

Dan, this is exactly my technique for making plain shrub, or shrub base. With enough shaking or stirring the demarara will dissolve into the vinegar(s) to make a fine juice extraction medium, or as in Ye Olde Quencher an interesting additive in itself. Using this in a week's extraction from chosen fruit in a sealed jar with ambient temp produces good results. Neyah White in San Francisco is my mentor re 'cold' macerated shrub, which method prevents a 'cooked' or caramelized taste from being part of the product.

The rice/cider vinegar combo works for me in most tries, but obviously can be changed up by the maker to suit individual taste. Playing with the vinegar(s) will produce nice variants with particular fruits.

Zachary Pearson's picture

Thanks for chiming in here


As you're the KC King of Shrubs, your advice, and any tips on hot vs cold methodology is greatly appreciated.