Aaah Pimms, the quintessential tipple of summer here in the UK. But my strawberry and mint shrub shrub/cordial packed with amazing flavour and so refreshing can give it a run for its money any day.
What’s so great about this drink?
- My strawberry and mint cordial is non alcoholic, so while you can have the taste just like Pimms you aren’t actually drinking booze which many want to avoid for calories, health and of course out driving laws!
- This is the ultimate grownup summer thirst quencher. Not too sweet and full of flavour.
- Strawberry and mint shrub is a zero waste recipe using both the strawberries and their leaves and also the stalks of the mint, not just the leaves!
- This is a super easy recipe, so what’s not to like with that.
What is a shrub?
Now don’t get confused here, You’re not going to be chowing down on the shrub you normally think of as a small bushy plant in the garden.
No, shrubs are actually a type of drink. The name shrub comes from the Arabic sharbah which means ‘drink’ and is also the source of syrup and sherbet.
They are a cordial that dates back to Roman times and there’s two different types of shrubs through history too. The infused vinegar style shrub we are making today and also an alcoholic shrub, really a fruit liqueur (mostly using rum or branmdy) that was popular back in the 17th century here in the UK.
You can make a shrub cordial using almost any fruit or berries and herbs too. All you are doing is adding in vinegar and sugar and the resulting liquid is a shrub.
So basically the strawberry and mint shrub we are making today is a flavoured vinegar that is sweetened, in this case with honey.
Here in Scotland drinking fruit vinegars goes back years. My raspberry and thyme vinegar is a classic for adding to soda water as a real thirst quencher and something I remember my grandmother making.
Strawberries of course. Homegrown strawberries are best of course but if you don’t happen to have any in the garden then do buy locally sourced strawberries. Our own strawberries are amazing and full of flavour, far better than imported berries.
You are going to use everything here including the leaves of the strawberries so don’t do the usual thing of pulling them off and chucking them out!
Mint – again use your own from the garden if you have ity. Mint has to be the easiest herb to grow but it spreads like wildfire (I know this to my cost when I used to grow herbs for my business and got overrun by the stuff) so do keep it contained in a pot and don’t plant it in your borders.
Vinegar – I use simple white wine vinegar to make my strawberry shrub. Please don’t use any other vinegar as they all have too much flavour and would easily overpower this delicate cordial. Avoid malt vinegar or distilled white vinegar like the plague, thay are way too strong. Best kept for your fish and chips or cleaning the windows!
Honey – Any nice runny honey is good here. Did you know that Scottish heather honey has been proven to be almost as healthy as the famous Manuka honey from Australia.
How to make a shrub
Making this strawberry and mint shrub/cordial couldn’t be simpler. It’s just a case of chopping things up a bit. This helps to release the flavours.
Then letting your strawberries, leaves and stalks too. Plus the mint leaves and stalks in the vinegar for 1-2 weeks.
Taste it after a week to check from flavour and if you want it stronger leave it for another week.
Then strain out the solids and heat the infused vinegar with the honey then pour into a sterilised bottle. That’s it!
Your homemade strawberry shrub will keep for up to a year in a cool cupboard. The vinegar kills bacteria so no nasties can grow in there.
How to serve this shrub
Use this cordial as you would any other. Just put about a tablespoon of the strawberry and mint shrub into a tall glass and add soda/sparkling water.
Add a splash of gin or vodka for an alcoholic tipple.
Use it in a summer salad dressing too. It can even be added to a fruit salad for extra flavour. I love this on galia melon.
Or you can use this shrub as an ingredient in cocktails too, get creative with that shaker!
Looking for more super summer strawberry recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Strawberry and Mint Pimms Style Shrub/Cordial
- 150 g strawberries including the tops and leaves
- 2 sprigs mint including the stems
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp honey runny honey
- roughly chop the strawberries and mint, including all stems etc
- place in a clean jar and cover with the vinegar and set aside for 1-2 weeks in a cool cupboard. Taste after one week to see if you like the flavour and if youwant it stronger leave for another week.
- strain out the solids in a sieve lines with kitchen roll
- Add honey to the vinegar and heat gently to dissolve before pouring the shrub into a sterilised bottle