Shrubs & Reductions

Shrubs & Reductions

When intense flavor is needed for an outstanding cocktail, shrubs & reductions are the way to go.


A reduction is simply a liquid that is boiled until it is reduced by volume.  Our cider reduction is simply 1/2 gallon of cider boiled until it is reduced by half.

Sweater Weather

0.5 Orange Liqueur or orange vodka
0.5 Cider Reduction
0.5 7 Syrup

Add ingredients to a champagne flute and top with dry bubbles. Orange Zest for garnish.

Decorative Gourd Season

2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Apple Cider Reduction
.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
.75 oz Cynar
.5 oz. 7 Simple Syrup
Dash Aromatic Bitters
Lightly salted Apple slice for garnish

In a cocktail shaker with ice, add first six
ingredients and shake until cold. Strain contents
from shaker into an old fashioned glass with ice.
Garnish with lightly salted apple slice.


Shrubs have a long history.  Babylonians added vinegar to their water to help “purify” it, Romans drank vinegar based drinks to quench their thirst in the heat and Italian immigrants brought vinegar based drinks to America with them on ships that used the vinegar not only to purify the water, but also disinfect the ship to prevent disease outbreaks.

Technically a shrub is any fruit that is macerated with vinegar and any other flavoring agents (herbs, spices, etc).  The mixture is then kept in the fridge for up to a month so that the flavors can marry and mellow over time.  For Make & Muddle, we strain the solids out and add sugar to the vinegar to create a delicious syrup and, of course, an ingredient for cocktails.  There are also quick shrub recipes that can be made immediately if you lack the patience (or refrigerator space) for a 3 week steep.  

Forgiving by nature, shrub recipes are an ideal place to experiment with different flavor profiles.  If you can dream it, chances are it can be made into a shrub.  And with the ingredients generally being cost effective, it is a home run recipe and sure fire way to wow guests.  

A few things to remember when making shrubs at home.  Vinegar choice drastically affects flavor profile.  We have used every vinegar we could find in shrubs and find that we prefer white balsamic and aged balsamic vinegar the best.  They complement and round out flavors as opposed to being harsh or too bright. 

Blackberry Mint Shrub

1 pints blackberries
¼ cup packed mint leaves
1 c white balsamic or
1/2 c white balsamic
1/2 c traditional balsamic
1 c sugar

Muddle all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid.  Leave on counter for at least 3 days, shaking every day.  Strain solids out and store liquid in the fridge for up to a month or more.

La Noche Negra

4-5 blackberries
1.5 oz reposado tequila (or pepper infused tequila)
.75 oz spiced rum
.75 oz blackberry shrub
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz Orange Curaçao
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Muddle berries in shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Shake and double strain on the rocks with salt/cayenne rim. Garnish with skewer of blackberries and candied jalapeno slices.

Fig Shrub

1 pint fresh Figs
¾ cup Sugar
¼ cup 7 syrup
1 cup red wine vinegar

Remove stems from figs and slice into quarters.  Toss with sugar and simple syrup. Add sugar coated figs and vinegar to a glass jar with lid.  Shake well.  Leave on the counter for at least 3 days, shaking every day.  Strain solids out and store liquid in the fridge for up to a month or more.

Fig Plucker’s Son

1.5 oz brandy
1 oz fig shrub
1 oz port wine
Dry Sparkling Wine

In a mixing glass with ice, add the brandy, shrub, and port wine.  Stir until very cold.  Strain into a coupe glass or champagne flute and top with a dry sparkling wine.

Cheeky Monkey

1.5 oz brandy
1 oz Blueberry Lavender Shrub
Squirt of lemon juice
Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine

Mix brandy, shrub, and juice in a rocks glass with ice. Top with prosecco. Garnish with a lemon peel or fresh blueberries.