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Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail

This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink.

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon

Save this recipe for Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail to Pinterest!

Easy Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipe

I can’t believe it is Thanksgiving weekalready. And only a couple of days until Thanksgiving! This year is seriously flying by in the strangest way – half the time it feels like time is standing still, and the rest of the time I blink and 2 months have passed.

Since Thanksgiving is quickly sneaking up on us, I thought it would be a good time to share this fun Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipe – a delicious Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail.

Maybe this Thanksgiving will be a little different in terms of family and friends gathering together.

I know we are keeping it small to just our immediate family, but you can always enjoy a virtual cocktail hour over zoom with your friends and family. You can even share the URL to this Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail ahead of time and everyone can make and enjoy the same cocktail together, while visiting virtually.

I’ve thought another fun thing to do this holiday season would be to play games over zoom with some of our friends, and to keep things a little more normal, have snacks and drinks while doing so. However you choose to celebrate the holiday I hope you stay safe and have fun!

If you’ve never made a shrub cocktail before, you definitely should. I love the unique flavor they add to a cocktail. This one is cranberry based with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon.

Not only is this Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail so good, but it is also so pretty and will totally be a showstopper served with your Thanksgiving spread. I had so much fun taking photos of this and I had the hardest time deciding which ones to use in the post because they were all so pretty and colorful.

This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink.

Save this recipe for Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail to Pinterest!

What is a Shrub Cocktail?

No, we’re not talking about a bushy, green plant in your front yard. A shrub, when it comes to drinks, is a sweetened vinegar-based syrup that is often infused with fruits, herbs, or other spices.

Think simple syrup with a fruity, vinegar flavor rather than sugar water. It is sometimes referred to as drinking vinegar. And you probably already have all of the ingredients at home to make a basic shrub.

Cranberry Shrub Cocktail Ingredients

This cranberry cocktail recipe may look chic, but it’s actually quite easy to prepare. Here’s what you’ll need to make this simple bourbon cocktail:

  • Cranberries
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Black peppercorns
  • Bourbon
  • Seltzer

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon

Save this recipe for Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail to Pinterest!

How to Make Shrub  

It is super easy to make a shrub for cocktails. The basic concept is a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Shrubs can be as simple as the fruit + sugar + vinegar, or you can add extra spices and herbs to enhance the flavor.

The vinegar you use depends on the type of fruit you’re using, what taste you’re going for, and how sweet you want it to be. Most shrubs typically use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

In this recipe, I added some fresh rosemary, black peppercorn, and a cinnamon stick to the cranberries and apple cider vinegar to give the shrub some really yummy fall flavors.

Here’s how to make a shrub:

  1. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the fruit, sugar, vinegar, rosemary and black peppercorn.
  2. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Then add the cinnamon stick.
  4. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain and cool before using in your drink. 

How to Store Homemade Shrub

Store the homemade cranberry shrub in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. A glass jar works well for storage. If you’re concerned about using it up within 4 weeks, this recipe is easily halved to make a smaller amount.

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon images and recipe

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How to Make a Shrub Cocktail

Once you’ve make the cranberry rosemary shrub, it is super easy to make this shrub cocktail recipe! You can make the rosemary cocktail as mild or strong as you prefer (just drink responsibly).

But, we liked the ratio of 2:1:1 for bourbon, shrub, and seltzer.

For ice, I love the really large cubes of ice, so I use a 2-inch ice cube mold, but you can use crushed ice or regular cubes if you prefer.

Do I Have to Use Bourbon?

Not if you don’t like it! If you’d rather make your Thanksgiving cocktails with another type of alcohol, go ahead. I think gin or vodka would be a good substitute for the bourbon in this recipe.

Can I Omit the Alcohol?

Shrubs are usually spiked drinks, but you can make this a mocktail, too, if you prefer! Fill a glass with ice, then add 1 – 2 tablespoons of shrub. Top the glass off with plain seltzer water, tonic water, or the popular La Croix (Cran-Raspberry would be great!). Garnish as desired!

This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink!

Save this recipe for Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail to Pinterest!

Tips for Making Shrub Cocktails

You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. Since the berries get cooked down to make the homemade shrub, it doesn’t matter which you buy!

Also note that you can reserve the cooked cranberries to add into your drink, just store them in a separate container. Or you can discard the cooked cranberries. I’ve prepared the drink with leftover cooked berries as a garnish and with fresh cranberries. Either way is good, so it is up to you!

Feel free to tweak the ingredient ratios in this shrub cocktail recipe to suit your own tastes. Like I said, we prefer a 2:1:1 ratio for bourbon, seltzer, and shrub, but you can make your Thanksgiving cocktail however you’d like.

Reader Reviews for This Shrub Cocktail

Wow! I rarely comment on recipes – but WOW!!! I made this for a dinner party and had to restrain my guests from drinking the shrub :D. We’ve been putting it in and on everything ever since – soda, apple cider, ice cream….any excuse to enjoy this delicious recipe. We live near a gin distillery and it made a GREAT substitute once we ran out of bourbon. I’ll be making a BIG batch of it for stocking stuffers this year. THANK YOU!

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon

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More Thanksgiving Recipes:

If you’re looking for additional inspiration for your Thanksgiving Menu this year, here are a few other favorite recipes. Be sure to check out the whole Thanksgiving Recipes Archive right here if you need help building the rest of your menu.

In this recipe for Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider Mulled Wine fresh pressed apple cider, tart pomegranate juice, and Tempranillo pair with mulling spices and fresh fruit to create a fall-inspired cocktail, perfect for sipping during this autumn and winter season.

Brining a turkey in this Rosemary Beer Brine will tenderize the meat and infuse it with a TON of flavor for Turkey Day!

Classic buttery russet potato mashed potatoes are elevated thanks to the addition of plenty of browned butter and fresh grated parmesan in this Browned Butter Parmesan Mashed Potatoes.

Learn How to Make Turkey Gravy with No Lumps for your Thanksgiving table.

If you like cranberry sauce better than gravy, try my recipe for  Cranberry Orange Walnut Relish or Red Wine Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce.

In this recipe for Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate, sliced Sweet Potatoes are baked in a spiced orange maple glaze and sprinkled with juicy, bright pomegranate arils.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic are a fantastic side dish that is full of delicious flavor – caramelized, roasted brussels sprouts, savory bacon, and tangy balsamic vinegar.

In this Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Goat Cheese, and Pepitas kale is lightly massaged with olive oil, salt and pepper, before being tossed with roasted delicata squash, roasted red onions, herbed goat cheese, and pepitas.

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Have you ever made a shrub cocktail before?

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail

Yield: 3 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink!

Ingredients

For the Cranberry Rosemary Shrub

  • 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorn

For the Cranberry Shrub Cocktail with Bourbon

  • 6 ounces Bourbon
  • 3 ounces Cranberry juice
  • 3 ounces Seltzer
  • Rosemary, for garnish
  • Cranberries, for garnish

Instructions

For the Cranberry Rosemary Shrub

  1. Add the cranberries, apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, rosemary, and black peppercorn in a 2 quart sauce pan.
  2. Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring the mixture so the sugar dissolves.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  5. Using a mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a glass jar.
  6. Discard the cinnamon stick and rosemary.
  7. You may like to reserve the cooked cranberries in a separate container to add them to the cocktail for a garnish. Otherwise, use fresh cranberries for garnishing.

To Prepare the Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail Cocktail

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  2. Then, add the bourbon and shrub.
  3. Shake until chilled.
  4. Strain into 3 glasses with 1 large ice cube (or fill the glass halfway with ice)
  5. Top with seltzer and stir.
  6. Garnish each glass with rosemary sprigs and cranberries.

Notes

HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE SHRUB

Store the shrub in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. A glass jar works well for storage.

DO I HAVE TO USE BOURBON?

Not if you don’t like it! If you’d rather make your Thanksgiving cocktails with another type of alcohol, go ahead. I think gin or vodka would be a good substitute for the bourbon in this recipe.

How to Make a Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Mocktail

Shrubs are usually spiked drinks, but you can make this a mocktail, too, if you prefer!

  1. Fill a glass with ice, then add 1 - 2 tablespoons of shrub.
  2. Top the glass off with plain seltzer water, tonic water, or the popular La Croix (Cran-Apple would be great!).
  3. Garnish and serve!

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Nutrition Information
Yield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 160Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 4mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 0g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it by leaving a comment below.

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Randi

Thursday 5th of December 2019

Wow! I rarely comment on recipes - but WOW!!! I made this for a dinner party and had to restrain my guests from drinking the shrub :D. We've been putting it in and on everything ever since - soda, apple cider, ice cream....any excuse to enjoy this delicious recipe. We live near a gin distillery and it made a GREAT substitute once we ran out of bourbon. I'll be making a BIG batch of it for stocking stuffers this year. THANK YOU!

Katie

Thursday 5th of December 2019

Hi Randi, I'm so glad you liked it! It always makes my day when someone comes back to tell me about a great experience they had with a recipe. CHEERS!

Cheryl Sousan

Sunday 18th of November 2018

This sounds fabulous! Allison and I have been wanting to make a shrub, this sounds so easy and delicious for the holidays!! Thanks Kaite

Katie

Monday 19th of November 2018

Thanks, Cheryl!