Fig shrubs are a refreshing drink that is perfect for summer or early fall. This Easy Balsamic Fig Shrub with Fresh Figs recipe uses only three ingredients! Enjoy this vegan version of a classic shrub on its own or as a mixer in your favorite cocktail.
When I saw this Quick Balsamic Fig Shrub recipe in Warren Bobrow’s latest book, Bitters & Shrub Syrup Cocktails, I knew I had to share it with you! And don’t worry, if you don’t imbibe you can make mocktails.
From early spring to late summer, fresh figs are always a treat. This recipe is from Bitters &Shrubs Syrup Cocktails, an amazing book to get cocktail recipes and ideas from. And don’t worry, if you don’t imbibe you can make mocktails or use one of these non-alcoholic liquor replacers:
What is a shrub?
A shrub is a tart and sweet fruit-based drink, typically made with vinegar. It’s served cold over ice with fruit or a fresh herb garnish. It is sweetened with sugar or another sweetener to balance the sourness of the vinegar.
We’re using balsamic vinegar in this recipe, but you can use other types of vinegar like organic apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or even coconut vinegar will work too.
The traditional sweetener is sugar, and you can get vegan sugar easily now. That’s part of the preserving factor. But you can use other sweeteners if you don’t mind storing them in the fridge.
You could try maple syrup, a vegan honey substitute, date syrup, coconut sugar, even monk fruit or stevia.
Is a shrub a concentrated syrup?
While it’s not as concentrated as a simple syrup, it is usually diluted to drink.
What’s the difference between a shrub and a switchel?
A shrub uses fruit and vinegar as its base, while a switchel usually has molasses, apple cider vinegar, and ginger – but does not have to be flavored with fruit.
Fig Balsamic Shrub Recipe Ingredients
You only need 3 simple ingredients!
- 4 –5 plump ripe figs, quartered – can be organic black mission figs, a common fig, or maybe you have access to other fig tree varieties when you live
- 1 cup Demerara sugar, organic unrefined cane sugar, organic blonde cane sugar, other vegan sugar, or even a mixture of sugars
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar, or substitute apple cider vinegar in a pinch – don’t use white distilled vinegar because it doesn’t a good flavor, just tang
How To Make the Shrub
Cut the figs into quarters and add them to a nonreactive bowl, then cover them with the sugar.
Add the vinegar and mix well. The sugar will start to dissolve. Cover tightly, and let the mixture sit out on the countertop at room temperature for 2–3 days.
Then, uncover the fig mixture, and mash it up a bit with a fork or a masher.
Place a strainer or mesh sieve over another bowl, and transfer the mixture to the strainer. Press down on the fruit mixture with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Store in a large mason jar.
Do I need to store shrubs in the refrigerator?
The vinegar and sugar are preserving the fruit, so it doesn’t require refrigeration. But you must make sure to store it in a sterilized jar.
You can store it in the fridge if you want to, it will not hurt the shrub at all.
How to Drink Shrubs
You can drink it as is, or dilute it with still or sparkling water – even club soda. But you can also use part shrub with tea, fruit juices, or lemonade, and make cocktails or mocktails with it.
Fig Shrub Cocktails
Shrubs can be enjoyed on their own, but they’re also great in a shrub syrup cocktail! Here are some of our favorite combinations:
You can enjoy my fresh fig shrub on its own or add it to your favorite vodka cocktail, or even add a splash to my maple toddy in place of the maple syrup.
But basically, you want to add it to your favorite liquor, and the fruit in your shrub will help you make that decision.
You can stop there, or add in a liquor that tastes great with the fruit and liquor, and you can even add a dash of bitters to fancy your cocktail up even more.
I like to make a fig shrub cocktail with bourbon, cardamom cocktail bitters, and a tiny bit of maple syrup or apple juice.
Don’t forget that you can get zero alcohol spirit replacements for almost any
You can even make a mocktail using the cocktail outline above and substituting a non-alcoholic spirit or fizzy water for the alcohol.
A shrub soda is a beautiful cocktail replacement. Any don’t forget that there’s a range of no alcohol spirits available now. I’ll be writing more about those later.
MORE RECIPES to Try:
- Maple Hot Toddy
- Slow Cooker Tempeh with Figs and Port Wine
- DIY Mint Vodka
- A Lavender Syrup for Your Coffee
Quick Balsamic Fig Shrub
- Nonreactive bowl
- Place the fig quarters in a nonreactive bowl, and cover them with the sugar. Add the vinegar immediately, and mix well. Cover tightly, and let the mixture sit on the countertop for 2–3 days. Press down on the fruit mixture with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Then, uncover the fig mixture, and mash it up a bit with a fork. Place a nonreactive strainer over another nonreactive bowl, and transfer the mixture to the strainer.
- Voila: a shrub is born.
- Store the mixture in a sterilized bottle or jar, and use in your mock-or cocktails immediately.