Traditional Shrub (Drinking Vinegar)

Delicious drinking vinegar recipe

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A shrub or drinking vinegar is a delicious flavor addition to your favorite beverage. They are simple to make and packed with probiotics. See the section above for our favorite flavor combinations.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup of fresh fruit or juice
  • 1/4 cup of other herbs and spices (see above for suggestions)
  • 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar (see notes for alternatives)
  • Sugar or another sweetener (optional)


  1. I don’t recommend adding sugar to your shrub until after it’s finished infusing. Adding sugar may kickstart fermentation causing your fruit to turn into more vinegar rather than a vinegar infusion. Also adding the sugar afterward will give a better sense of how much sugar it needs. It will depend on the sweetness of the added flavors. Not adding sugar until you are ready to serve the shrub also prolongs its shelf-life. 
  2. Pack a 2-cup (pint-sized) jar with 1 cup of fresh fruit, preservative-free fruit juice, or herbs and spices. Pour over 1 cup of ACV. (Use a brand that contains a mother for the probiotic benefits).
  3. Cap the jar with an air-tight lid. Place the jar in a dark location and let the vinegar infuse for at least 2 days.  If the infused flavors are floating (as is the case with certain types of fruit and herbs) stir daily. I recommend straining fruit and herbs after 2 to 4 days. If the flavors aren’t floating (like juice and spices) they can be left to infuse for up to 4 weeks and don’t require stirring.
  4. When the infusion is finished, strain the vinegar into a clean jar. As long as you haven’t added any sweetener, the vinegar infusion can be stored in a cupboard at room temperature for up to a year. It may develop a vinegar pellicle, which is perfectly fine. (See notes).
  5. When you’re ready to enjoy your shrub, add sugar to suit your taste. I find that 1/2 cup per batch is sufficient for my taste. Commercial shrubs sometimes use up to the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. At this point, the shrub needs to be stored in the fridge. Once the sugar is added, it will last in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


  • Shrubs can be brewed with any live vinegar. ACV is the most commercially available raw vinegar. However, if you make your own wine vinegar or other fruit vinegar, then feel free to use it instead. I don’t recommend using white vinegar as you’ll miss out on all the benefits associated with raw vinegar.
  • For more details about what is a vinegar pellicle, check out my post on brewing ACV.