Hydrating Watermelon Shrub

By Amanda Paa – Updated June 27, 2022
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You know those sweltering, sun beating down, summer days……. where the wind just blows more hot air, and your clothes sticks to every inch that’s covered? And you’re so thirsty you just need something, anything to drink, stat. And what winds up in your hand is a glass of wine, cocktail, or beer, and it’s gone in minutes. Like someone literally put a hole in the bottom of it because the icy, cold profile was just what your body was looking for.

Or so you thought. And  you quickly realize you shouldn’t have lifted your glass so fast.

I’ve been avoiding that situation this summer with my love for refreshing drinks made with shrubs, ignited by Sherrie‘s magic at the final dinner of our Boss Babe Fest.  As the sun set, we stirred up a slew mocktails, using shrubs & syrups had made.

As we taste tested each other’s concoctions, there was one consensus: these shrubs  fruity, refreshing, barely sweet, and tangy drinks were a remedy for the heat.

Salty Watermelon Shrub Elixir {heartbeet kitchen blog}
Watermelon Shrub recipe
salty watermelon shrub elixir {sweetened with maple}

What is a shrub?

Maybe you’ve heard of shrubs or switchels: vinegar-based fruit drinks that were popular years ago, during the long days of harvesting, to refuel. Today they’re gaining popularity as fermenting and preserving have gone through a rebirth.

What makes them hydrating is the vinegar and sweetener, maple syrup in this case – sending electrolytes through the veins like real food “sports drinks”. They aren’t difficult to make, just letting the blended fruit soak with the vinegar and maple to coax out all the flavor. After at least four hours, up to a few days, you’ll strain it, and the juice is your shrub.

What does a watermelon shrub taste like?

With a half a watermelon sitting in my refrigerator taking up valuable real estate, I decided to go the shrub route, and create a play on a favorite cocktail of mine, The Greyhound. Typically made with grapefruit juice, I love it’s tart tang, with a hint of sweet, and a salty rim that pairs so, so well. It’s key to waking up flavors, creating balance, and giving it the edge that makes you take one more drink.

The apple cider tang of a shrub mimics the puckery grapefruit, along with fresh lime juice & lime La Croix for brightness. The watermelon brings the summer, like citrus brings the winter.

salty watermelon shrub elixir {sweetened with maple}
salty watermelon shrub elixir {sweetened with maple}
Salty Watermelon Shrub Elixir {sweetened with maple syrup, paleo}

As the seasons change you can switch up the variety of shrub you make, according to the freshest fruit you can get your hands on. Last year I made this Apple Shrub, that is shoe-in for a spiced hot toddy. But right now….. #DRINKTHESUMMER!

More Watermelon Recipes:

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watermelon shrub in a glass

Hydrating Watermelon Shrub

This watermelon shrub is easy to make by blending fresh watermelon juice with apple cider vinegar and maple, to create a refreshing tonic.
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Prep Time :10 minutes
Refrigeration Time :4 hours
Yield: 16 ounces
Author: Amanda Paa



Watermelon Shrub:

  • 1/2 of a large, ripe watermelon, cut into cubes (they can be random sized chunks, you will just be blending them)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup

To make a mocktail:

  • coarse Kosher Salt for rim
  • 2 ounces watermelon shrub syrup
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3 ounces lime sparkling water
  • ice cubes


  • Blend watermelon until pureed. Measure out 3 cups of watermelon juice, into a bowl or large glass container. Add apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, stir for about 30 seconds to fully combine.
  • Cover container and move to the refrigerator, letting it sit for at least 4 hours, up to 2 days.
  • Then use a fine strainer to let the mixture separate, pushing down just a little on the fruit. Be gentle.
  • Keep the syrup and pour into container, discard the pulp.
  • To make a mocktail, put salt on a sheet pan or plate. Use a cut lime to trace the rim of the glass, then spin the rim in salt.
  • Gently put ice cubes in a glass. Pour shrub and lime juice over the top. Then finish with the sparkling water. Stir with spoon. Add lime twist for garnish.

Did you make this?

tag @heartbeetkitchen on instagram and hashtag it #heartbeetkitchen

August 24, 2016


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  1. Sam

    Wow! This is a perfect sip for summertip. I can just imagine myself hanging out in the beach, with some good book to read, while resting in a hammock. The last time I did the laid back summerish feel is when I was traveling in the islands of Thailand.
    But anyway, I’ll have this elixir served to my friends for some pool party this Sunday. Thanks for sharing this Amanda! You’re the best!

  2. Fix Your Skin

    Love the smell wow amazing cooking well done. Made it for a get together and everyone loved it. Would not change a thing. Thank you for posting.

  3. Nina

    Beautiful shots and it sounds really delicious, Amanda! I might give it a go soon. x

  4. Sherrie

    No secret that I love shrubs and YOU! Thanks for hanging with us for #DRINKTHESUMMER 2016 bf, xx!!

  5. John Munro

    I never tried to eat watermelon like that. Can’t wait to try it out! These look absolutely incredible!

  6. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

    This sounds so absolutely up my alley. Gorgeous!!

  7. Alanna

    SO gorgeous Amanda! I wish I had one of these right now.

    • amandapaa

      Come back to Minnesota so we can make more La Croix mocktails, please?!

  8. Todd Wagner | HonestlyYUM

    AHH this drink is so ME! I’ve been studying all the LA Croix drinks from you Boss Babes, and I can’t wait to start experimenting myself! It’s time! Shrubs are seriously some of my favorite cocktails, and it pains me to admit that I don’t make enough of them, both personally, and for my site. Thanks for inspiring me, Amanda :)

    p.s. that seriously looks like the best watermelon I’ve ever seen. I’m droooling over that shot with the spoon.

  9. Jayme | holly & flora

    ELIXIRS!!! A} I love the name of this drink. B} So in love with the colors here – watermelon is so photogenic!! C} Can we please go back to that DIY shrubby, syrupy, fruity cocktail bar last month? So. Much. Fun. Lovely recipe, Amanda!

  10. Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk)

    This sounds so spot-on for the dog days of August! I’ve been eager to try a shrub and this salty watermelon is the best-looking one I’ve stumbled across.

    • amandapaa

      give it a go! i think you’d love the barely sweet tang. and can’t beat a refresher. :) xo

  11. robyn holland | sweetish.co

    I think you’ve just proved that watermelon juice is the prettiest juice there ever was. Love your shots my friend! And I have to make this before watermelon season leaves us. I stinking LOVE La Croix too – can’t wait to make this.

  12. Meg @ Beard and Bonnet

    Oh my goodness Amanda, this is so perfect! I totally agree that watermelon brings the summer like citrus brings the winter.

  13. Julia

    Loving this refreshing and unique beverage! I haven’t consumed nearly enough watermelon this summer, and now I’m wanting to take it all in one fell swoop – bevvie-style. Bravo, sister!