Recipe: A Festive & Flavorful Cranberry Shrub

This recipe for cranberry shrub makes a sweet and sumptuous syrup, a great flavor additive or beverage base that also makes tasty, festive cocktails!

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Irina Burakova/AdobeStock

I’m still chipping away at the 15-pound box of fresh cranberries that I got from the farmers market. Cranberry season is fleeting, so we must make the most of it while we have the opportunity. Last week I shared a recipe for how to make cranberry juice. This week I’m going to share a recipe for delicious cranberry shrub.

Unlike all my other shrub recipes, I cook this one to help extract the juice from the berries.

Yield: 2.5 cups finished shrub


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1.5 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • about 1.5 cups raw organic apple cider vinegar (or other drinking vinegar of choice) to finish off after making syrup


Rinse cranberries, and remove any white or damaged berries and stems. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the cranberries, orange juice and sugar to a simmer.

Simmer until the berries begin to pop and cook and become soft and deflated. Stir often. The syrup will become bright red once it’s ready to strain.

Keep an eye on the pot as it simmers. It is a syrup and will get hot and bubble over if not carefully watched.

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Once the sugar has dissolved and a syrup is made, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the solids, reserving the syrup in a heat-tolerant measuring cup. Use a spoon to stir out the juice.

Double strain for a cleaner syrup (optional).

Once strained, measure the amount of cranberry syrup that was collected. Add that same amount of vinegar to the syrup (it will be about 1 to 1.5 cups of vinegar) and stir well to mix.

Store in a clean jar with lid tightened on and refrigerate. Enjoy within a few months for best flavor.

Read more: Make your own delectible cranberry juice!

To Serve

Mix about a shot (1 to 2 ounces) of the shrub mixture with water or carbonated water. Serve over ice.

Shrubs also make tasty and unique cocktail mixers. This bright red shrub is perfect to serve during the holiday season.

Side Notes

You can also use brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or other sugar alternative in place of white granulated sugar.

This method of shrub making can be applied to any fruits and herb combinations. Consider adding orange zest, ground cinnamon or rosemary while simmering the cranberry shrub syrup.

Don’t toss the strained-out fruit solids! They are delicious mixed into plain yogurt or oatmeal, or blended into a smoothie.

This recipe was adapted from WECK Small-Batch Preserving (2018) with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

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