Recipe Spotlight

The Simple Fruit Syrup That Makes Your Drink Taste Like Summer

Sweet, tangy, and simple, this syrup will transform your summer drinks.

Published May 28, 2021.

Four words: mixed berry shrub syrup. In beveragespeak, a shrub is a fruit and vinegar syrup you add to a drink. This one, made with summer's best ingredients, helps your drink reach its full potential. The result? A summer of elevated, refreshing beverages.

This particular shrub syrup is versatile and easy to make. The fresh summer berries add sweetness, but the vinegar’s tang balances it out and makes it shelf-stable, which means that you can keep this syrup on your bar cart for a full month. Other versions made with peaches and cranberries are also wonderful.

In addition to being downright delicious, this syrup is incredibly versatile, which is highlighted by the different ways you can incorporate it into your summer drinks, alcoholic or not.

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For a nonalcoholic option, the syrup works wonderfully by simply mixing it with seltzer and a squeeze of lime juice. It makes for a balanced, refreshing summer soda, perfect for sitting on the patio or lounging by the pool.

When it comes to alcoholic drinks, this syrup helps mix up your usual al fresco cocktail options without adding any extra work. One of our favorite options is mixing it with tequila, seltzer, and lime juice, as in the Tart Breaker cocktail from our book How to Cocktail.

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Mixed Berry Shrub Syrup

Makes about 10 ounces

For the mixed berries, you can use any combination of berries in addition to the strawberries (we prefer to use at least two), and you can substitute frozen for fresh. Note that you must refrigerate the fruit for 24 hours. The shrub syrup can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month. Shake well before using.

  • 1 cup blueberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces white wine vinegar

1. Toss blueberries and strawberries with sugar in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Strain berry mixture through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Whisk in vinegar.

Tequila pairs perfectly with the sweet and fruity flavors from the syrup, and the addition of a little lime juice adds some extra freshness and a touch of sourness. Blanco or reposado tequila works here. Blanco will make it a little brighter, and reposado will add some aged and oaky notes to the drink.

However, if you aren’t a tequila lover, that’s OK! I’ve found that a more neutral spirit such as vodka also works well with this syrup, a little bit of seltzer, and a squeeze of lime.

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