Books Recipes

What are Shrubs in Cocktails?

What is a Shrub you might ask?  Well, a Shrub is a combination of sweet and savory flavors.

Vinegar and fruits, bitter aromatics and tart essences are what Shrubs are to a cocktail.

I see a Shrub and I think savory and complicated flavors.

Shrubs seem to be recreated aroma driven concentrated tastes.  Sitting in front of me right now is a very special Apple Shrub from Shrub and Co.

I created a liquid Mulligatawny  out of my Apple Shrub.

The Mulligatawny Cocktail is a curious creature indeed.   It is comprised of Orleans Apple Aperitif woven in a melange with Busted Barrel Rum from New Jersey.

A few tablespoons of the Apple Shrub is augmented by the sharp and potent flavors of Curry- as exemplified by Bill York’s Curry Bitters from Bitter End in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I see this cocktail as a potent reminder of the British Empire running a rail road train at high speed into an unchartered pass.  In the winter.  With no one coming in either direction for about a week.  This drink is perfect for the coming apple season and fall soon ahead.

The Shrub and Co. Apple Shrub can be taken by the teaspoon full over ice cream or spooned over shortbread and dashed with some bourbon oak aged dark rum or even an agricole!

I prefer it in a drink.

There are dozens of different Shrubs on the market.  Some are created from berries, others citrus and still others tree fruits.  Shrubs are to cocktails as a time-machine is to space travel.  A means to the end.  Channeling our forefathers through their liquid driven memories.

My thoughts on Shrubs are simple.  Use them when you require a bitter/sour element to your drinks.

They add a savory sweet/sour thickness to the finished product.

Please let me know your thoughts.


I’ll Be an Apple Perplexed Cocktail aka: The Mulligatawny Cocktail


2 oz. Busted Barrel Rum

1 oz. Orleans Apple Aperitif

1 oz. Shrub & Co. Apple Shrub

Bitter End Curry Bitters

Large Ice Cubes


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled 1/4 with ice

Shake well until frosty

Strain over large ice cubes

Scrape some fresh nutmeg over the top (essential!)

Garnish with a sprig of fresh spearmint