Elderberry Shrub

2 servings
15 minutes cook time
Elderberry Shrub

Shrubs. They’re not just the kind of bushes that elderberries grow on. Shrubs, also known as drinking vinegars, are a next-level syrup that’s added to fizzy water, cocktails and sweet sodas for an exciting flavor with loads of nutritional benefits. This elderberry shrub is a berry flavorful way to make everyday beverages special.

Elderberry is an ideal fruit for shrub recipes because of its bold berry flavor, sweetness and low acidity. Plus, a shrub lets you enjoy your precious elderberries in so many ways! This shrub can be added to cocktails, floated into sweet teas, or spritzed to a simple sparkling water. 

Elderberry shrub makes offering your family the nutritional benefits of elderberries easy, and kids especially love its juicy sweetness. Because it's so special in its simplicity, this elderberry shrub is great to make in batches to give as a gift to your health conscious and cocktail loving friends!


  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Good for: kid friendly, gluten-free, vegan, non alcoholic, healthy drinks 
  • Difficulty: easy

If you can make a simple syrup, then you’re ready to make a shrub. A shrub recipe is based on an ingredient trifecta of equal parts fresh fruit, sugar and vinegar, typically beginning at 1-2 cups each. From there, a shrub recipe can introduce flavorful herbs and spices that add dimension to the overall taste of the fruit and vinegar you’re using. 

In this elderberry shrub recipe, we’ve chosen elderberries, turbinado sugar and apple cider vinegar as our base because we love how the flavors come together. You can use other types of sugar (coconut, light brown or granulated sugars, for example) and light vinegars that are available to you, but it may produce a different flavor.

Some shrub recipes are made without heat by macering the fruit overnight, but this elderberry shrub recipe uses a simple cooking method because of how elderberries’ flavor comes to life with heat. Elderberry shrub can last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.


  • 1 cup elderberries 
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar


  • Medium sized, heavy bottomed pot
  • Wooden spoon 
  • Sieve
  • Medium heat safe bowl with spout
  • A jar, cruet or small pitcher with airtight lid


Prepare the elderberry shrub

  • Add the fruit, sugar and vinegar to the pot. Set over medium heat and stir to combine, mashing the elderberries as they begin to cook. Mixing frequently, allow the elderberry mixture to gently simmer until all of the fruit is completely incorporated. Remove from heat.
  • Set a mesh sieve over a heat-safe bowl and pour in the elderberry shrub mixture. Get as much of the liquid as you can by pressing the fruit against the wall of the sieve with your wooden spoon. Discard the leftover pulp and allow the liquid to cool.
  • Once the liquid is cool, pour it into a container that will allow you to easily add the elderberry shrub to drinks such as a small pitcher or glass cruet and store in the refrigerator for up to six months.

The finished shrub can be used on its own or added to bushels of beverages. Use a ratio of one part shrub to five parts liquid, and adjust to taste. Concoct refreshing elderberry shrub spritzers or add them to your daily water for an effortlessly fancy and nutritious drink anytime!

Nothing makes us happier than when we see you enjoying your fruit! 

So show us how you enjoy your FruitStand delivery and your elderberry shrub recipe results by mentioning us @FruitStandcom on Instagram to be featured in our stories! 

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