Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

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A note from Maggie

Strawberry and rhubarb are the classic combination of sweet and tart. I adore how Gayle used this strawberry rhubarb finishing vinegar to shrub it up. Weekend cocktails, done!

We’ve all known pregnant women who crave pickles and ice cream and a whole host of other foods – my mother ate enough carrots to tinge her skin orange – but it was my friend’s puckery vinegar cravings during her first trimester that introduced me to the shrub.

Dating back to pre-refrigeration days, these drinking vinegars grew out of necessity: sugar was added to crocks of fresh fruit to slow spoilage and the mixture fermented. Just like spreading berry preserves in the dead of winter, spiking sparkling water (or a more adult potable) extends the flavors of warmer months year round.

Popular in colonial America, shrubs have made a comeback, showing up on cocktail menus everywhere. Suspender-clad, sleeve-gartered, cap-askewed hipster bartenders aside, shrubs are worth a second look.

MORE: Make gorgeous fruity vinegars at home – here’s a step-by-step guide!


Despite having never had a shrub in my life, when gifted this this spiced strawberry rhubarb finishing vinegar, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I poured a few spoonfuls of the tawny rose syrup, thin enough to drizzle but thick enough to leave a slick on the spoon, into a glass and filled it with sparkling water. Suitable for finishing a salad or de-glazing a pan into a gastrique, the vinegar wasn’t quite sweet enough for drinking, so I dropped in a sugar cube (or two!) for some extra fizz.

Bottoms up!

P.S. I think congratulations are in order – I managed to get through the past three paragraphs about shrubs without a single topiary reference!

Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

Makes: 1 drink


  • 2-3 tablespoons finishing vinegar (I used Wozz!) or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1 large sugar cube (or 3-4 little Domino ones - approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar)
  • 1 thinly sliced strawberry, for garnish


  1. Pour the finishing vinegar into a pretty glass.
  2. Add the sparkling water.
  3. Drop in your sugar, and watch the drink fizz.
  4. Float some strawberry slices on top, and enjoy!
Photos styled and taken by Gayle Squires.

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