Tangy Lemon Ginger Shrub: Cocktail or Mocktail

Citrus fruits are at their peak in winter, and their sunny tang does a body good. So does the bite of vinegar and the heat of ginger. They all come together in this easy and delicious Lemon Ginger Shrub.

The word shrub entered the English language through the Arabic word “sharab,” which means drink. Shrub recipes all have three things in common: sugar, fruit, and vinegar. The best (at least we think so) also include something aromatic to delight the nose and the tastebuds.

Cook one of these up and serve it as a mocktail with sparkling water, or as a cocktail with sparkling wine. You can even pack a double old-fashioned glass with ice, drizzle it with syrup and finish it with your favorite vodka.

Tangy Lemon Ginger Shrub Cocktail/Mocktail Recipe


6 lemons juiced and two of them zested
2 T white balsamic vinegar
2 c water
2 c sugar
3/4 c ginger root, roughly chopped
5 cardamom pods


Combine juice, zest, 1 T of vinegar, water, sugar, ginger, and cardamom in a non-reactive pot and boil for 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Add remaining 1T of vinegar. Pass through a fine mesh strainer into a jar.* Use fresh or keep in the fridge, where it will be usable for months.

For a lemon ginger mocktail: start with a highball glass or small tumbler. Fill 1/3 with ice. Add 5 tablespoons of shrub. Top with club soda or sparkling water.

For a lemon ginger cocktail: In a wine glass or champagne flute, add 3 or 4 tablespoons of shrub, and top with sparkling wine. (Hint… it doesn’t need to be expensive.)

Or follow the vodka suggestion above with 4 tablespoons of shrub.

*If you like, save the ginger, chop it very fine, and add it to your favorite Oatmeal Cookie recipe.

Story, Recipe, and Photography by Keith Recker

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