Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

A homemade shrub (a syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar) plus a splash of ginger ale puts a holiday-worthy spin on the classic cranberry-and-vodka cocktail
Highball glass filled with ice and Cranberry Shrub Cocktail from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. The glass is rimmed in sugar and garnished with a skewer of cranberries. A gold clutch lays on the gray and white marble counter beside it.
A sugared rim lends a frosted look to Cranberry Shrub Cocktail from VERY MERRY COCKTAILS by Jessica Strand (Chronicle Books 2020). Photo © Ren Fuller

Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

This drink takes a couple of extra steps due to the tantalizingly tart shrub (a mixture of sugar, apple cider, and fruit), but the effort is all worth it for this delicious, healthy-ish cocktail.

Makes 1 drink

  • Cranberry Shrub (recipe below)
  • 3 1/2 oz [100 ml] vodka
  • Ginger ale, for topping off
  • 3 fresh cranberries, skewered, for garnish

Fill a highball glass halfway with crushed ice. Pour in 2 oz [60 ml] of the cranberry shrub, add the vodka, and stir. Top off with ginger ale and garnish with the cranberry skewer.

book cover for Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica StrandCranberry Shrub

  • 8 oz [240 ml] apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup [200 g] sugar
  • 1 cup [120 g] cranberries

Heat the apple cider vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar fully dissolves. Add the cranberries and bring to a simmer, mashing the cranberries into the mixture as they soften. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Let cool. Strain the shrub into an airtight glass container. The shrub can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes 12 oz [355 ml].

Reprinted from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020 | Photography by Ren Fuller