Blueberry Ginger Cilantro Shrub

Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

“No thanks. I’m not drinking.”

Turning down a drink can be awkward, and no more so than when you’re surrounded by friends ordering Sunday morning Mimosas. Let’s face it, it’s worse than explaining why you’re wearing the same clothes you had on when you left the bar last night. Are you pregnant, recovering, or just a lightweight?

In today’s world their are plenty of reasons – from being the designated driver to dropping a few pounds – that we might choose not to drink. But it sucks being the one drinking sparkling water while your friends enjoy the perfect Bloody Mary.

Shrub to the rescue! With complex flavor and a certain je ne sais quoi from the vinegar that hits the same points on your palate as alcohol, this full-flavored drink provides refreshing satisfaction with or without the booze.

Blueberry Ginger Cilantro Shrub

Makes 3-4 cups syrup

There are so many ways to use this tart syrup. I like a ratio of 3 tbs to 1/2 cup sparkling water for a light, refreshing drink. Add a tablespoonful or two into a flute and serve with Cava. Or try muddling some mint and mix the shrub with rum or vodka and a splash of bitters.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2” ginger, unpeeled and cut in ¼” slices
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbs honey
  • Vinegar – this is the fun part!*

*From balsamic and red wine to the many fruit infused vinegars in my pantry, I couldn’t find a vinegar I didn’t like! Experiment and have fun!


  • Mix sugar and water in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add blueberries and ginger. Stir occasionally as fruit releases liquid and returns to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and honey. Let flavors infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on solids to remove additional liquid.
  • Mix 4 parts fruit syrup to 1 part vinegar. Store in the refrigerator.

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