Contrary to popular belief, vinegar isn’t just for salad dressing. We love it in everything from savory soups to sweet desserts — and, yes, even cocktails. Old school drinking vinegars, also known as shrubs, became popular in the 1600s and have seen a major resurgence in recent years. (Before we go any further, the term shrub refers to a syrup made of fruit, sugar, and vinegar.) Of course, you can totally play with flavors by adding different herbs, spices, and ingredients like honey and vanilla. In short, shrubs are a great way to elevate your cocktail game. Plus, they’re surprisingly simple to make. Ready to channel your inner mixologist? Here, eight spiked shrubs to try this spring.
Our favorite way to ring in spring? A new pair of sunnies and a Confederados cocktail. This cachaça, watermelon shrub (made with white balsamic) and lime cooler is as pretty as it is splendid to sip on a warm afternoon.
Bourbon Peach Smash
Thirsty Thursday just got a lot better thanks to this peach shrub (made with red wine vinegar), bourbon, orange bitters, and ginger beer. Muddled peaches and mint give this beverage a burst of bright, juicy flavor.
Beet Shrub, Lemon, and Whiskey Cocktail
This cocktail doesn’t miss a beet (sorry, we couldn’t resist). But seriously, homemade beet shrub and lemon juice add zest, while angostura bitters and whiskey turn this into a delicious drink that’s sure to impress even the most particular cocktail connoisseur.
Strawberry Balsamic Shrub
Strawberries and balsamic are a classic combo—and for good reason. This drink takes it up a notch with muddled basil, a splash of sparkling water, a squeeze of lime juice, and an ounce (or two) or gin.
Bourbon, Balsamic, and Cherry Shrub Cocktail
Sweet, tart, and oh so tasty! Balsamic, cherries, honey and vanilla remind us of a decadent dessert—but aren’t at all cloying. Bourbon and lemon-lime soda are a brilliantly balanced finishing touch in this cocktail.
Blackberry-Ginger Shrub Rum Cocktail
Meet your new go-to springtime cocktail. A blackberry, ACV (apple cider vinegar), balsamic, and rum-laced take on a Moscow Mule, this not-too-sweet beverage is a sublime way to end the week—or start the weekend.
Tangerine Mint Shrub
Planning a BBQ or rooftop picnic? Zesty citrus and cool mint make this the perfect sunny day refreshment. This irresistible shrub recipe calls for champagne vinegar, tangerine juice, and an oleo-saccharum, made with tangerine peels, mint leaves, and turbinado sugar.
Sparkling Rhubarb Shrub
Rhubarb often gets a bad rap, but we love it in pies, tartes, and pretty pink drinks. The tartness of the shrub (rhubarb, white wine vinegar and cane sugar) pairs perfectly with the tequila.