Drink, Summer

Strawberry Piloncillo Shrub

A shrub is nothing more than fruit preserved in both sugar and vinegar. The resulting brew is a bracing syrup, at once sweet and sour. Stir this into sparkling water all summer or shake it up with a cocktail and startle your palate. Vinegar has remarkable health benefits, but let us forget those in favor of its obvious flavor strength. Brew once and let this jar of power support you in the coming months.


  • 500 grams Strawberries
  • 250 grams Piloncillo Sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups Champagne Vinegar


  1. First some manual labor:
    1. Remove the stems and leaves from your berries. 
    2. Pulverize your brick of piloncillo (for surely you bought it in some conical or spherical solid). Put it in a plastic bag and hit it repeatedly with a hammer until it is soft and crushed. This is good for your soul.
  2. Add the strawberries and crushed sugar to a large bowl. With both hands crush the two ingredients together until you are wrist deep in crimson soup. This is a particularly good job for young adventurers in the kitchen.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. During this time the sugar will help break down the fruit and draw out moisture, resulting in a blissful syrup. You may know this step as maceration.
  4. Strain the solids from the syrup with a mesh sieve. 
  5. Pour the syrup into a quart jar and add the vinegar. Stir to combine.
  6. Screw the lid on your jar and let it sit for a day at room temperature. After that, remove it to your fridge where it can mellow for weeks. The shrub will be good for months (if not longer). Drink it with seltzer or in the Summer Crush cocktail!