Apple Cider Vinegar and Cranberry Juice & Other Shrub Recipes

May 21, 2024
apple cider vinegar cranberry shrub recipe Grow Create Sip Blog

Sports drinks, vitamin water and energy drinks are all the rage in the summer time when we are all trying to keep our electrolytes up and stay hydrated. But those drinks are packed full of chemicals, dyes and loaded with sugar and other sweeteners. Today I want to introduce you to a tasty alternative, be it summer or fall, called drinking shrubs! Particularly the combo of apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice flavors. The result is a tangy and delicious beverage that’s good for you too.


If you’ve never heard of a shrub, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! Below we’re sharing everything you need to know about drinking vinegar, as well as our favorite recipe. It’s such a refreshing take on the classic cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar combo. Slightly sweet and bubbly, it’s a much more enjoyable way to get your dose of these healthy ingredients. 


Introducing the tangy goodness that is homemade shrubs! With our guide, you'll discover the benefits of apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice, learn how to make a delicious cranberry and apple cider vinegar shrub recipe and get inspired by some other easy-to-make shrub recipes. Shrubs offer such a flavorful twist to other beverages... plus, they're bursting with health benefits! 



The Legal Stuff

This blog is provided by St. Fiacre's Farm LLC for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice, and you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for any medical questions or concerns. Please note that we may earn a small commission on any purchases you make through our affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!


What is a Shrub?

Let's start with the basics: what exactly is a shrub? Here, we’re not talking about the leafy plants in your garden. A shrub is a type of beverage made from a combination of fruit, sweetener, and vinegar. 


Dating back thousands of years, shrubs were originally created as a way to preserve fruit and add flavor to drinks before refrigeration was a thing. Folks would combine fruit, sugar, and vinegar to prolong the shelf life of seasonal fruits. The mixture could be added to water to create a tangy beverage that was actually good for you too.


Today, shrubs have experienced a renaissance of sorts. Homemakers like us have been making these for years, and now we’re starting to see them at restaurants and even some bars. I even spy them at farmer's markets and craft shows on occasion. What makes shrubs really unique is their sweet and tangy flavor profile that adds a touch of zing and a bunch of benefits to everyday drinks. The most common shrub is cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar, plus a sweetener like maple syrup or honey.



Why We Should Introduce Shrubs into Our Diet

Now that you know what shrubs are, let's talk about why they deserve a place in your diet. The most important — and beneficial — ingredient in all shrub recipes is vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar.


Apple cider vinegar is well known for its potential digestive benefits. It’s full of acetic acid, which may stimulate digestive enzymes and promote gut health. It may also help you manage your weight and regulate blood sugar. Here are a few other benefits of vinegar:


  • May support heart health
  • Has antimicrobial properties (we love using it to clean!)
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Helps Regulate Blood Sugar

  •  Aides in Weight Loss

  •  Lowers Cholesterol

  •  Improves Skin Health

  •  Reduces Blood Pressure

  •  Helps Acid Reflux

  •  Eases PCOS


When combined with cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar creates a powerful shrub that’s delicious and totally bursting with antioxidants and immune-boosting properties. Cranberry juice can support urinary tract health and provide a dose of vitamin C.



Apple Cider Vinegar and Cranberry Juice Shrub Recipe





Tips for Making Cranberry Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar Shrubs

  • For a more tart drink, use less maple syrup or honey.
  • If you don't have sparkling water, you can use club soda or simply use still water.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of apple cider vinegar to your taste preference.
  • For an extra refreshing drink, chill the glass before serving.




More Shrub Recipe Ideas

If you don’t like apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice, don’t worry — there are plenty of other shrub recipe options out there! Below is a basic recipe to use as a jumping-off point, along with a couple of alternative flavor ideas to get you started.


Simple Shrub Recipe


  • 1 cup fruit (like berries, citrus, or stone fruit), chopped or mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar)


Combine the fruit and sugar in a bowl and use a spoon to mash the fruit. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 1-2 days until the sugar dissolves and the fruit is macerated. Strain the mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth — extract as much liquid as you can! Stir in the vinegar, transfer your shrub to a glass jar, and keep it in the fridge. 



            Photo by Kayla Joy Creative


More Shrub Flavor Ideas

You can also use dried natural herb flavorings in shrubs, and you can even use kombucha herbal flavoring mixes in them too.


All you need to do is add the herbal mixture to water, bring to a boil, and allow the whole thing to simmer. Then, strain the herbs from the liquid and add the liquid back into the pot. Add some sugar and stir until it dissolves. Then, you’re good to incorporate it with fruit and vinegar!


Or if you want to simplify it some you can try adding the dried herbal mixtures right to your vinegar. Let the herbal flavorings infuse in your vinegar for 1-3 days and then strain. Use this flavored vinegar in your shurbs skipping the fruit step above.


There are lots of flavorings to choose from:



You can also experiment with different fruit, herb, and spice combinations to create your own signature shrubs!


Use Spent Kombucha in Place of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Don't forget! If you are a kombucha brewer we all have those times where we miss bottling our kombucha and end up with a ton of kombucha vinegar. No worries! Not only can you clean with kombucha vinegar too, but you can use it in shrubs!

You get the benefits of kombucha right in your drink and nothing goes to waste! Flavor your spent kombucha in the same way as the apple cider vinegar. Add a little water and more flavoring if desired, then enjoy!



Shrub Recipes Frequently Asked Questions

Why is drinking vinegar called a shrub?

Vinegar is called a shrub because its name is derived from the Arabic word sharbah, which means “to drink.” Shrubs have existed since the Romans and Babylonians, and many cultures spoke Arabic in ancient times. 


Are drinking shrubs good for you?

Drinking shrubs made with ingredients like apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice may support digestion, provide antioxidants, and help manage weight. That said, moderation is key and you should always consult your doctor with any health concerns.


Is Shrub a probiotic drink?

No, shrubs aren’t typically considered probiotic drinks like kombucha as they’re vinegar-based and don’t contain live probiotic cultures. When they’re made with apple cider vinegar, they can be good for digestion, but they’re not a big source of probiotics. Unless you use kombucha vinegar.


Can you drink shrub by itself?

Yes, you can drink shrub without diluting it with water if you like its concentrated flavor. That said, it’s usually super tart thanks to the vinegar! Adding it to still or sparkling water can help balance the flavors and make it easier to drink for most people. Also, there is some concern that the acid will affect your teeth' enamel and more so without diluting.





Drinking Shrubs Just One Way to Hydrate

 Now you have our top tips on incorporating shrubs into your DIY drink menu! The apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice shrubs are a fun introduction, but if you really want to dive deep, we invite you to join our free Kombucha Workshop. It's a wonderful series of three videos that will teach you how to craft your own kombucha at home. The benefit is that you can also make your own kombucha vinegar at home, so you will not only have kombucha but also a healthy supply of vinegar for your homemade shrubs!


I'd love to know if you've ever had shrubs before. If not, what keeps you from trying them? And if you have, what has been your favorite way to enjoy them? Let us know in the comments below. I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 


More DIY Drink Recipes


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