Mulberry Shrub

mulberryshrubcocktail2It is mulberry season here and our three mulberry trees pour down a deluge of berries when you shake their branches. Aside from making a big mess when you walk on them barefoot, mulberries are good for eating too! You can make jams, pies or just about anything else out of them that you’d use other berries for. Today we used them to make a “shrub”. No, not the type you use for landscaping. This type of shrub is an old fashioned way of preserving fresh fruits and berries that has recently come back in vogue. The trendiest bars now offer homemade shrubs on their cocktail menus! Shrubs are often called “summer in a bottle” because they capture the bright, fresh fruity flavors of summer and preserve them to enjoy anytime.

There are two basic ways to create shrubs- the hot method and the cold method. The cold method takes time and since we were wanted to be able to enjoy this shrub immediately we opted for the hot method. The flavor and balance of this shrub will improve over time, but is ready to use immediately.

Mulberry Shrub

In a pot on the stove, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup mulberries and the zest of 3/4 of a lemon. Bring to a boil and then simmer until berries are fully broken down. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Once cool, strain to remove mulberry seeds and skins. Pour into a mason jar and store in the fridge.

Mulberry Shrub Whiskey Cocktail

2T Mulberry Shrub muddled with a fresh basil leaf, a squeeze of lemon, a splash of bitters and a splash of whiskey. Add crushed ice. Top with whiskey.

We have used Alberta Dark Rye (Canadian whiskey) and Knob Creek bourbon. Experiment and decide what you like best!

Basil Syrup

basilsyrup2I had a delicious cocktail recently that was made with grapefruit juice, basil and vodka. I haven’t tried making it myself but plan to as soon as I remember to pick up grapefruit juice at the store! In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the basil component of the drink. As a summer cocktail I’d probably use fresh basil muddled with the fruit juice but in the winter and early spring when we don’t have a garden full of basil I’ll need another option. If you’ve been following my blog for long you’ll know where this is leading….Basil Simple Syrup! As you know I love simple syrups. They are such an easy way to preserve the fresh flavor of herbs, fruits and berries and can be used in so many ways. Just last night I had some of my mint simple syrup drizzled over chocolate pudding and it was heavenly!


Basil Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • two big handfuls of basil (or as much as you can stuff in the pot)

In a small pot, combine water and sugar and bring to a low boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add basil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes (I have forgotten and simmered it much longer, it turned out fine!). Pour into jars and store in the fridge or can for pantry storage. When you pour the syrup into the jars you probably won’t need to use a filter since the sugar coated leaves will form a sticky lump that will remain in the pot.


Now- what to use my Basil Syrup in first? Basil & Lime Highball? Basil Lemonade with my Lemon Syrup? Strawberry Basil Martini? It’s a good thing its Friday!