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

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Easy Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipe

Happy weekend! And Happy Birthday to my sister, Allie! I wish you were here and we could have a cocktail together. I think you would love this one!

I can’t believe it is November already. And less than 3 weeks until Thanksgiving! This year is seriously flying by. Since it is November now and Thanksgiving is going to quickly sneak up on us, I thought it was time to start sharing some fun Thanksgiving recipes.

First off, is this delicious Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail. If you’ve never made a shrub 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.

two cranberry cocktails garnished with fresh rosemary

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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

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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 10 minutes.
  5. Strain and cool before using in your drink. 

How to Store Homemade Shrub

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

three cranberry cocktails next to copper shaker

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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!

three shrub cocktails

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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.

Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail

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 Rosemary Shrub
  • 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 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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