A colonial treat makes a modern comeback


3 large organic lemons

1 large organic grapefruit

1 ¼ cup sugar

1 ¼ cup white wine vinegar


Bormioli Rocco Swing-Top Bottle





glass measuring cup

saucepan and ladle


The shrub, or drinking vinegar, has a long, storied tradition, though you may not know about it because of the advent of the refrigerator. Shrubs, which are sweet, fruity beverages with a kick of vinegar’s brightness, were a historic way of preserving fresh berries and fruit. Reduced to a syrup, drinking vinegar can either be sipped straight or mixed with sparkling water or used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.

This recipe is a great entry into the world of shrubs. Bright with citrus flavor, our drinking vinegar is ready the day after it is started. Refreshing on a hot, summer day, shrubs are a great reminder in the fall and winter of earlier garden bounties.

Step One. Peel the zest

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the grapefruit and lemons in big chunks, being careful to minimize including the pith, which will make it bitter.

Step Two. Juice the fruit

Juice the grapefruits and lemons. Make sure to measure the amount of juice that the fruit produces, as you will want equal parts sugar and white wine vinegar. Our fruit produced 1¼ cups juice. Yours may contain slightly more or slightly less. If you would like a less sweetened vinegar, you may reduce or omit the sugar content. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Step Three. Muddling and measuring

Measure the same amount of sugar as the fruit juice, and add it to the zest. Muddle the sugar and zest thoroughly.

Step Four. Cover and rest

Cover container with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.

Step Five. Add juice and stir

The next day, pour the juice into the zest-sugar mixture, mixing until the sugar is well dissolved.

Step Six. Strain and boil

Strain the zest and pulp out of the liquid, transferring the liquid to a two quart saucepan. Add the same amount of white vinegar as juice. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Step Seven. Boil and stir

Boil gently for five minutes, stirring. Take off the heat.

Step Eight. Bottling

Let the drinking vinegar cool completely before transferring to a clean bottle to store in the refrigerator.

It’s not just for sipping

Drinking vinegars are good sipped on their own, but they can be mixed with sparkling water and fresh fruit for an exciting summer treat, or they can be used as an ingredient in salad dressings, sauces or in place of basic vinegar. We love to have them on hand in our refrigerator for impromptu cocktail hours, and once you’ve mastered this recipe, you’ll be able to build your own with your favorite, fruity ingredients.