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Blackberry Shrub with Basil

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You are enjoying a beautiful, end-of-summer sunset, feet up, laughing with your very best friend, when someone hands you a perfectly chilled, fizzy, purple cocktail.  One sip and you are mesmerized.  It’s sweet and fruity, yet tangy, and absolutely refreshing.  This is your very first shrub.

A shrub is a fruit infused vinegar, a Colonial way of preserving sweet summer fruits, and an ultra-hipseter way of making a damn-fine cocktail. This blackberry shrub with basil took a week to develop it’s ethereal flavors, and that my friend, is something that cannot be rushed.   Blackberry season is winding down, but I’ll bet you could find a handful near a creek somewhere.  Seriously, you don’t want to wait until next summer to try this!

Blackberry Shrub with Basil

Shrubs are crazy-easy to make, all you need is fruit, sugar and vinegar.  Fresh herbs add a delicate layer of flavor that enhances the fruit, and compliments the added alcohol.  Then all you need is time.  It takes about a week for the vinegar to harmonize with the fruit and sugar, though it will always be a tad tart, this is what makes it so very awesome.  Pour it over your favorite alcohol, and make it fizzy with mineral water.  The perfect cocktail.

make blackberry basil shrub

Start by adding your fruit and sugar to a mason jar, then “muddle” it into a sloppy mess.  If you don’t have a muddler, use the end of a wooden spoon.  Pour in the vinegar and shake like hell.  Then add the basil leaves.  Lid the jar, and leave it for a week, shaking it once a day.

After about a week, pour the mixture through a fine sieve.

pour blackberry shrub

Store that glorious liquid in a jar in the fridge.  It will keep several months, or as long as you’re thirsty.

To make a cocktail, add 1 part blackberry shrub, 1 part vodka, gin or rum, and 2 parts bubbly mineral water, over ice.  We make drinks for the kids too, but they prefer a lot less shrub and quite a bit more mineral water.

Blackberry Shrub with Basil
Recipe type: Drinks
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 basil leaves
  1. Add the blackberries and sugar to a mason jar and muddle into a sloppy mess. Use a wooden to spoon or a muddler to make sure the berries are broken up, juicy and mixed well with the sugar.
  2. Pour in the vinegars, put the lid on the jar, and shake until well combined.
  3. Add the basil leaves.
  4. Keep the jar in the fridge, or on the counter, for 1 week, shaking it once every day.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve, and keep the liquid in a jar, in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

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