Heartbeet Kitchen
Apple Shrub Recipe
October 13, 2015 (last updated October 25, 2020) in Canning & Preserving · Dairy-Free · Drinks · Fall · Gluten-Free · Nut-Free · Seasonal · Vegan · Winter · 25 Comments
 Apple Shrub recipe {via hearbeet kitchen blog}

Apple Shrub recipe {to preserve fall apples}

Not only did I fall in love with salmon while I was in Alaska, but their vast assortment of wild berries too, far from the raspberries and strawberries you buy in stores. These berries are foraged and have varying names, from crowberries to blue huckleberries, to the real prize – nagoonberries. They’re all relatively tiny, with their own flavor profiles, but generally they have a tart/sweet balance.

As I talked to the locals, each would give a general area where you could stumble upon a few patches, but their own personal “gold mine” was kept a secret. It almost seemed like a faux pas to ask, right up there with talking politics, religion or asking a woman her age.

Like anything wild, they are meant to be savored rather than taken for granted. Just as one has their favorite berry picking spot, they usually have their favorite way to preserve them as well.

Apple Shrub {made with Sweetango apples}As I sat amongst several members of the community waiting for the Wild Harvest Feast to begin, one of the gals reached under the table and pulled out a tall glass bottle with filled with specialty – bright pink, Nagoonberry Shrub syrup. Next from from under the table came a brown bottle with gin.

I felt as if I was one of them, while we passed around the goods, poured ourselves a drink, and chatted about the beauty of the area.

Step-by-Step guide to Making Apple Shrub Syrup

I hadn’t thought of making a shrub syrup from our local fruit until then. I only wish I’d have known how easy it is, this apple shrub recipe needing just 3 ingredients and a little waiting time.

What is shrub syrup?

They’re made the same way as they were in the colonial days, when lack of refrigeration required creativity to enjoy ripe fruit even during the cold winters. Maybe you’ve noticed them on upscale restaurant menus in the forms of cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks with flair, alongside kombucha and switchel.

Shrubs are truly delicious, adding a layered complexity to whatever they’re mixed with. Simply grate the fruit, mix it with a vinegar/sugar solution, and let it sit for a few days.

Step-by-Step guide to Making Apple Shrub Syrup

I headed to the market when I got back and picked up a bushel of local SweeTango apples from my favorite orchard (a juicy cross between a Zestar and Honeycrisp), then began the process.

After 3 days hidden in the refrigerator, it turned into this sweet and tangy simple syrup, with the brightest apple flavor ever.

What does shrub syrup taste like?

I’d compare it to a funky rendition of classic apple cider. With the juicy, crisp flavor of the sweetango’s, and subtle tartness from the cider vinegar, it’s fantastic in a bourbon or whiskey cocktail. And when you’re looking for something to warm up you by the fire, there are plenty of hot toddy’s that could be made.

Apple Shrub {recipe}

Apple Shrub recipe {with step-by-step instructions}

Hot Apple Shrub Cider {trendy twist on apple cider}

Apple Shrub recipe {to preserve fall apples}

Apple Shrub Recipe

Yield: 12 ounces
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 15 minutes

How to make an apple shrub, an apple cider drinking tonic.


  • 1 1/4 cups grated SweeTango or Honeycrisp apples
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar


    1. Add apples, sugar, and apple cider vinegar to a glass mason jar. Attach jar cover tightly and shake liberally.
    2. Refrigerate and let sit for 2-3 days.
    3. Remove from refrigerator and strain juice into a large bowl, then squeeze remaining juice out of apples using a colander.
    4. Pour juice into a glass container and keep refrigerated. Will stay good for up to 6 months if
      stored properly in refrigerator.


Typically the fruit/sugar ration in shrubs is 1:1, but
because the apples were so naturally sweet, I went lighter on the sugar.

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25 thoughts on “Apple Shrub Recipe

  1. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    I’ve been seeing shrubs everywhere, but your apple variation is making me think I need to just get on with it and make one already :) I love the stories of sharing drinks and food with locals, we can learn so much from others and they way they live life through food! xo

  2. Danae @ Recipe Runner

    All of those berries you were introduced to in Alaska sound amazing! I can just imagine picking them and snacking away on them the whole time. This shrub sounds so perfect for fall. I’ve never made one, but am inspired to give it a try!

  3. Christine // my natural kitchen

    Love this so much, Amanda! I had no idea that making a shrub would be so doable. My counter is full of local apples right now, I’m excited to get this started and can’t wait to enjoy it with a cocktail soon! xo

    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      I think it would totally be your thing Kristie. And I’m sure you have wonderful local apples where you are! I like it because it’s much less finicky than kombucha too.

  4. Donald

    I was wondering if you could use blueberries or figs instead of apples? I have never had a shrub before and it does sound interesting. I would like to try it in different dishes as well.

  5. Kimberly

    I’m so going to do this!
    I’ve never heard of a shrub before, but
    My tastebuds are tingling😁
    Thanks for sharing this recipe and your beautiful photos!

  6. Gracie


    Was this supposed to ferment on the counter first to turn into a shrub? I followed the directions, mixing and putting immediately into the fridge, this would not ferment if refrigerated immediately right? Then I took it out and strained it and tried it. It burned terribly..and I was coughing and coughing. It is straight apple cider vinegar with a stronger apple flavor and sugared…. It burned awful! I would appreciate your insight into this… I made a huge batch and used my organic sugar which is so expensive and I can not use this now unless you can help me, thank-you!

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Gracie!
      It needs to ferment for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
      Shrubs are naturally very tangy and strong, and should be mixed with soda water, or juice. For example, I use 2 tablespoons shrub to one 6 ounce glass of hot tea.
      They are not meant to drink straight.

      1. Gracie

        Oh boy, I drank it straight-no wonder I coughed and hacked!! Well now I will make some tea and add it. Haha Thank-you for your quick reply!


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