drinking vinegars: sour cherry-lime shrub & strawberry-rhubarb black pepper shrub

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

When I first heard about drinking vinegars, I was instantly shrub-curious. For someone who grew up sneaking pickle juice out of the fridge, a tart, vinegary beverage sounded quite delightful. Portland’s Pok Pok restaurant was where I first became a shrub initiate and back in October I bought myself a bottle of their raspberry SomΒ – a bright and fruity drinking vinegar. I had it mixed with soda water in their restaurant, but when I drank it at home, I mixed it with plain old tap water (and an ice cube or two) and found it very refreshing and pleasantly bracing. I was smitten with the shrub. So when my bottle of Som was almost empty, I decided to take matters into my own hands and come up with a couple fruity variations.

make your own Som/ drinking vinegar | everybody likes sandwiches

When making a drinking vinegar, you can choose 2 methods. The first one, is a cooked version where you melt the sugar along with the fruit over heat and then add in the vinegar. I wasn’t sold on that process, so I choose the other method – the no-cook one, letting the sugar and the fruit macerate at room temperature with only a bit of agitation (be it shaking and stirring) to help melt the sugar into syrup.

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

If a little bit of fermentation happens too, all the more in terms of flavour. I used raw apple cider vinegar for the cherry-lime version & ACV + balsamic for the strawberry but you can definitely play with your vinegars here.

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

Ideally, this is a wonderful way to preserve your summer fruit bounty. But for me, it was a way of making more room in my freezer by clearing out some of my precious fruit stash. If it’s summer and you have some bruised or fruit that’s about to turn, make a shrub! But it’s just as easy to do with frozen fruit too. I decided to make 2 varieties. The first one, a sour cherry lime shrub was inspired by my old macerated sour cherry conserve recipe that uses lime zest and almond extract to bump up the flavour of the sour cherry. And as a shrub, the results were incredible. Bright, lively and delicious.

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

The second shrub helped to use up some frozen rhubarb and some strawberries that I had leftover from breakfast. Clearly, it’s not yet strawberry season, but I couldn’t resist a box of California berries when I spied them at the market. The imported strawberries were large so I cut them up into halves and quarters for the recipe. Black pepper and balsamic vinegar seemed like a natural pairing. The final product was delicious. The strawberry flavour was a big POW to the tastebuds while the other flavours took a backseat – present, but much calmer. It was a tasty drink.

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

I got more syrup out of the cherry mix than the strawberry-rhubarb one. Maybe because rhubarb isn’t the most juicy fruit – so plan accordingly. I have yet to try these as a drink mixer in a cocktail, but I’m curious for your recommendations. Vodka, tequila, gin or bourbon? I’m curious for a delicious boozy pairing. And yes, this makes a perfect gift. I made a label using sticker paper and a couple cute bottles I had thrifted to give to a friend.

sour cherry lime shrub | everybody likes sandwiches

drinking vinegars: 2 fruit shrub recipes | everybody likes sandwiches

16 comments to “drinking vinegars: sour cherry-lime shrub & strawberry-rhubarb black pepper shrub”

  1. 1
    Darien   March 22, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Yay – project!!

  2. 2
    Joanne   March 23, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I’ve had shrubs in cocktails at a few restaurants recently and loved them all! There’s something about that fruity yet slightly sour flavor that is fabulous. Love that you figured out how to make them at home!

  3. 3
    cheri   March 23, 2014 at 6:18 am

    I Have been very interested in the process of making vinegar drinks for a while now, looks like you really nailed it here. Beautiful pics!

  4. 4
    Sues   March 23, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    These sound really interesting and delicious! I have a feeling I would love them πŸ™‚

  5. 5
    kickpleat   March 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Darien – it’s the best kind of project because it’s SUPER EASY!! πŸ™‚

    Joanne, it’s so simple to do. I hope you try out your own version.

    Thanks Cheri, I’m thrilled with the results.

    Sues, I’m sure of it! They’re wonderful and unique.

  6. 6
    Rocky Mountain Woman   March 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Looks like a fun project. I’ve been known to sneak pickle juice myself, so I’d better give this a try…

  7. 7
    Erica   March 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I live in Portland and always marvel at the colorful row of drinking vinegars at Pok Pok, but end up ordering a Beer Lao to go with the spicy food. I love kitchen projects like this so I’ll definitely give it a try!

  8. 8
    kickpleat   March 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Thanks RMW, from one fellow pickle juice drinker to another, do it πŸ™‚

    Erica, definitely give them a try! They’re refreshing and have bite!

  9. 9
    Aimee   April 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Do you maserate the cherries in the jar before letting it sit or do you just put them in and let nature take its course?

  10. 10
    kickpleat   April 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Aimee, you could use a masher to smush the cherries into the sugar, but I just let nature take its course.

  11. 11
    Sean   April 13, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  12. 12
    Brie   April 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I’m super excited to try out this project. I’ve already expressed my enthusiasm to you elsewhere, but it doesn’t hurt to add a blog comment too! I have a bag of frozen griottes in my freezer that are just begging to be turned into shrub. Yum!

  13. 13
    JoanneM   May 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Pretty colour. Interesting sounding drink. So curious to try it.

  14. 14
    kickpleat   May 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks Sean!

    Brie, I hope you make your own because it’s sooooo good πŸ™‚

    Thanks Joanne!!

  15. 15
    Viginia Luther   May 7, 2017 at 10:13 pm


  16. 16
    Tim Harrington   July 23, 2020 at 10:06 am

    A friend told me about your site after we made rhubarb/strawberry shrub. And that was after we finished his sour cherry shrub. I love rhubarb and have always wanted to try it in a cocktail. We just used apple cider vinegar, the fruit, and sugar and it all performed perfectly. It ran out quickly but worked best as a simple whiskey sour with Kentucky bourbon. Also tried it as a sub for margarita mix. Again, delicious. Making it again today with your suggestion of the black peppercorns.

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