Suitcase Foodist

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Homemade Soda

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Homemade Soda

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Homemade Soda

Rhubarb is a relatively new discovery in my food arsenal.  It is so seasonal that it makes a flash appearance in early spring and by the time it ends up on my radar it is gone. Every year.

Rhubarb by Suitcase Foodist

So, I finally learned.  I saw some and immediately put some in my basket in a I-refuse-to-be-late-to-the-game kinda way. Without really knowing what I intended to do with it.

Chopped Rhubarb for Rhubarb Shrub by Suitcase Foodist

I’ve come across a million recipes for rhubarb pies, tarts, breads, compotes and syrups.  All sweet and all most likely beyond my limited baking abilities.

Rhubarb Shrub by Suitcase Foodist

This has to be my favorite shot of the entire post… The shot that said to me, summer is almost here.

I decided to go the Rhubarb Cocktail / Soda route.  Ever since I discovered that a lovely concoction called ‘Shrub’ existed, I’ve been a little obsessed.  It is basically an old fashioned way of preserving fruit in vinegar with a sugar.  I am always a fan of sweet/tart – dating back to my sour patch kid loving days.  And a shrub is the crown jewel of the sweet/tart kingdom.

Gin Rhubarb Cocktail by Suitcase Foodist

I added 2 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Shrub to get this soft pink color and tart rhubarb flavor.

Who doesn’t want to put a stopper on time and flavor to bottle up something like rhubarb that is seasonal in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda way.  Last fall I played around with a persimmon shrub (again, ultra seasonal) and so it was a natural progression when I got my rhubarb home and stared at it trying to decide what exactly to make.

As the rhubarb soaks in the vinegar it will get pale and wan while the surrounding liquid will turn a brilliant pink.  It gave me a little thrill every time I took it out to admire and shake.  You can literally SEE the rhubarb giving up its essence.  Am I the only one that geeks out over such things?

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Soda by Suitcase Foodist

I had some purple sage in my garden that just seemed to BELONG in this drink – along with a splash of gin and a pour of club soda

This is one of those patience recipes – it takes a bit of time and planning and then you have and hold it.  Tucked away in the fridge just waiting to be made into a cocktail with a splash of floral gin or into an Italian soda with a pour of cream.  I imagine it would be just as lovely spooned over ice cream with a couple of sliced berries.  It will keep in the fridge for up to a month, extending life and flavor beyond rhubarb season.

Purple Sage by Suitcase Foodist


If you are interested in shrubs here are a couple of other recipes that might make your heart beat a little faster:

And if rhubarb makes your heart beat a little faster (and you are a better baker than I am) here are some sweet additions for your arsenal:

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Soda

Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Soda


  • 4-5 stalks fresh Rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups White Vinegar
  • 2 cups Cane Sugar
  • Your choice of club soda, ginger ale, water, gin, vodka, or any combination as a mixer


  1. Use a 1 quart jar with a tight fitting lid . Submerge it in water and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize.
  2. While the jar is coming to a boil, wash, trim and rough chop the rhubarb.
  3. Heat the vinegar in a small sauce pan and heat until bubbles are just starting to appear.
  4. Pull the quart jar after it has had a chance to fully sterilize, dump the water out, load the chopped rhubarb into the jar and pour the hot vinegar on top. Screw on the lid and put into your fridge.
  5. Leave the rhubarb/vinegar potion in the fridge for at least a week and up to a month for the flavors to really infuse.
  6. Once the flavor profile is where you want it, pull your infusion out of the fridge and strain the fruit out of the vinegar in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. You will want to do this a couple of times until the vinegar is clear.
  7. Add the vinegar to a sauce pan with the sugar. Bring to a boil, dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat. Allow to cool.
  8. Pour into a clean, sterilized jar. Tightly seal and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  9. Add a tablespoon or more to soda water or to mixed drinks to bring a lovely rhubarb flavor.

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6 thoughts on “Rhubarb Shrub for Cocktails & Homemade Soda

  1. Kizmet

    Tart and sweet. So good to eat. And drink. I might add a little molasses or agave syrup for the sweet. With some peaches. And a nice white balsamic. Pear. For this I’d keep vinegar away from heat. Just give those peaches a soak. And a stir. Overnight. Next day scoop out the peaches. Now you have a nice cocktail beginning. And the peaches? Toss them in a blender for a quick pulse or two in a blender max. Goes great on either pork tenderloin or smoked fish. Also nice on a cracker with chevre.

  2. Kiano

    So glad to see another use for rhubarbs beyond a pie. I’ve always wanted to play around with the ingredient, cause frankly it looks awesome, but am not the craziest fan of pies. Cocktails on the other hand… 🙂

    1. Lydia Post author

      I can always get behind a good adult beverage Kiano! Thanks for the comment and hope you follow along.