Shrubs: 3 Gluten-Free Drinks You Should Try

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A shrub is a refreshing, tangy, fruit-infused drink. Shrubs have been around since the 15th century, used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

Unlike other fermented beverages, such as kombucha and kefir, shrubs don’t require an added starter or culture; they simply mature over time in the refrigerator to the flavor depth that you decide. The syrup is used to flavor beverages (such as adult cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails), to jazz up vinaigrettes and to drizzle as a tasty sweet-tart sauce over ice cream, pancakes and waffles.

Shrubs are also lovely all by themselves. A daily spoonful of shrub syrup improves digestion.

Easy to make, these no-cook gluten-free shrubs offer appealing flavor, as well as health benefits.

About these gluten-free recipes

Many shrubs are loaded with sugar. Not these recipes! They combine apple cider vinegar with pure maple syrup or honey for added health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar improves digestion, provides immune support and stabilizes pH imbalances. It also offers anti-glycemic benefits.

Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants and minerals, including zinc and manganese, and it’s lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

Honey is antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory; local honey is said to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.

Gluten-Free Hibiscus-Cherry Shrub Syrup

Photography by Morgan Miller

Gluten-Free Hibiscus-Cherry Shrub Syrup

MAKES 3 CUPS

Heart-healthy hibiscus mixed with antioxidant-rich cherries and star anise make a refreshing beverage. Pour this syrup over ice, drizzle it over your favorite ice cream or enjoy it by the spoonful.

Click here to view full recipe


Apple-Cinnamon Shrub Syrup

MAKES 3 CUPS

Cinnamon and cardamom transform apples, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar into a soothing syrup. Enjoy this shrub in beverages and by the spoonful. The apples become slightly pickled; they can be eaten alone, combined with sweet potatoes or winter squash or added to cooked red cabbage for a sweet-tart dish.

Click here to view full recipe


Gluten-Free Citrus-Ginger Shrub Syrup

Photography by Morgan Miller

Gluten-Free Citrus-Ginger Shrub Syrup

MAKES 3 CUPS

Bright, soothing ginger undergirds this tropical blend that’s rich in vitamin C. Enjoy this shrub by the spoonful or add it to beverages and vinaigrettes.

Click here to view full recipe


Sueson Vess is a professional chef and food coach. She is author of Special Eats.

Try these simple and delicious ways to enjoy shrub syrup.

Gluten-Free Apple-Cinnamon Gin Cocktail

MAKES 1 SERVING

Combine 2 tablespoons gin, 3 tablespoons Apple-Cinnamon Shrub Syrup, 1 tablespoon sherry and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake 10 seconds to combine. Strain into a tall, ice-filled glass. Stir in ½ cup club soda.

Gluten-Free Shrub Mocktail

MAKES 1 SERVING

Pour 3 tablespoons shrub of choice into a tall, ice-filled glass. Fill the glass with club soda or unsweetened ice tea, stirring to combine. Garnish with lemon peel.

Gluten-Free Shrub Vinaigrette Dressing

MAKES 1½ CUPS

Place ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons shrub of choice and 1 teaspoon gluten-free Dijon-style mustard in a 1-quart wide-mouth mason jar or bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in 1 to 2 finely minced garlic cloves, if desired. In a very slow stream, whisk in 1 cup olive oil to create an emulsion, whisking steadily until all oil is added. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.