Lemon Shrub Cocktail Recipe

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Lemon Shrub Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:14

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Lemon Shrub cocktail is a refreshing, citrusy drink that dates back to colonial times. It was popular among sailors as a way to prevent scurvy and to make their rum ration more palatable. Today, it's loved by those who appreciate a tart, tangy cocktail with a hint of sweetness.

  • Origin: Colonial America
  • Ideal for: Summer parties, brunches, and those who love citrus flavors

How Lemon Shrub Tastes?

The Lemon Shrub cocktail is a perfect balance of tart, sweet, and slightly bitter. The lemon gives it a fresh, citrusy tang, while the sugar adds a hint of sweetness. The vinegar provides a unique, slightly sour note that cuts through the sweetness and leaves a refreshing aftertaste.

Interesting facts about Lemon Shrub

  • The Lemon Shrub cocktail was originally made with rum, but today it's often made with vodka or gin.
  • The word 'shrub' comes from the Arabic word 'sharab', which means 'to drink'.
  • In colonial times, shrubs were often used as a way to preserve fruit.


A few good options for Lemon Shrub are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The citrus zing of lemon provides a bright, tart backbone to our shrub. It balances the sweetness and adds a refreshing element. If omitted, we'd miss that sunny punch and risk a too-sweet sip. Feeling adventurous? Sub in a lime for a tangier twist!

Alex Green


Sugar isn't just a sweet personality; it's here to mellow the lemon's tartness and blend seamlessly with the vinegar. Dial it back, and the tang might take over; too much, and it's sugar rush central! Care for a healthier swap? Try honey or agave for natural sweetness.

Emma Rose


Don't pucker up just yet! Vinegar is the bold twist that makes this shrub a true shrub. It brings depth and bright acidity. Too little, and the drink falls flat; too much can lead to a mouthful of 'Nope!'. Want to mix it up? Apple cider vinegar can offer a fruitier zing.

Mary Mitkina


The quiet strength, vodka gives our cocktail its boozy backbone without stealing the limelight. Tweak the amount, and you're playing with the cocktail's very soul. In a rebel mood? Swap for gin and add a botanical kick!

Alex Green

Ice cubes

Ice cubes are the chill factor, keeping our lively elixir cool and diluting it just enough as they melt. Skip them, and you're in warm, concentrated-drink territory. For a twist on temperature, try serving with frozen lemon slices as ice cubes!

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Lemon Shrub Drink

  1. In a glass, muddle the lemon and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the vinegar and muddle again.
  3. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
  4. Pour in the vodka and stir well.
  5. Garnish with a lemon slice and serve.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemons for the best flavor.
  • If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add more sugar.
  • For a stronger vinegar flavor, let the cocktail sit for a few minutes before drinking.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Seafood - The zesty lemon and sharp vinegar cut through the richness of seafood, such as grilled shrimp or oysters.
  • Grilled Chicken - The acidity of the cocktail complements the smokiness of grilled chicken perfectly.
  • Salads - Fresh green salads with vinaigrette dressing will echo the tartness of the shrub.
  • Cheese Boards - A platter featuring a variety of cheeses, especially those that are creamy or have a bit of tang, will balance well with the cocktail's flavors.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water - To cleanse the palate between sips of the cocktail.
  • Light Beers - A refreshing pilsner or a crisp lager can accompany the lemon shrub without overpowering its flavor.

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What you could change in Lemon Shrub

  • Vodka: Can be replaced with gin or rum
  • Vinegar: Can be replaced with apple cider vinegar for a slightly sweeter taste

Explore all drinks starting with L here

And of course - twists🍹

Ginger Lemon Shrub

  • Ingredients: Lemon:2, Sugar:1, Apple Cider Vinegar:1, Vodka:2, Fresh Ginger: 1 teaspoon grated
  • Recipe: Follow original recipe, but with ginger added during the muddling process. Stir in the apple cider vinegar in place of regular vinegar.
  • Flavor: This twist brings a spicy warmth, complementing the lemon's tang. Ginger deepens the cocktail's complexity and is perfect for those cooler evenings.

Herbal Lemon Shrub

  • Ingredients: Lemon:2, Honey:1, White Wine Vinegar:1, Gin:2, Fresh Herbs (basil or thyme): a small bunch
  • Recipe: Swap sugar for honey and vodka for gin. Muddle lemon, honey, and herbs together. Add the white wine vinegar and proceed as usual.
  • Flavor: Herbal undertones bring a garden-fresh feel, making it ideal for a summery afternoon. The sweetness of honey softens the edges of the shrub.

Berry Lemon Shrub

  • Ingredients: Lemon:2, Sugar:1, Balsamic Vinegar:1, Vodka:2, Mixed Berries: a handful
  • Recipe: Muddle the berries along with the lemon and sugar. Use balsamic vinegar for a fruitier profile. Follow the rest of the original recipe.
  • Flavor: A berry blast infuses the shrub with a delightful sweetness, creating a beautiful color and a drink that's perfect for impressing guests at your next garden party.

In case you forgot basics how to make Lemon Shrub

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Lemon Shrub

Is the Lemon Shrub cocktail suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Yes, the Lemon Shrub cocktail should be suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as it does not contain any animal products.

Can the Lemon Shrub cocktail be made non-alcoholic?

Yes! You can remove the vodka and possibly replace it with a bit more lemon and sugar, or add soda water to make it a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink.

How can I make my Lemon Shrub cocktail colder?

Make sure you're using enough ice cubes, or you can chill your glass and ingredients beforehand in the refrigerator.

Can I use lime instead of lemon for this cocktail?

Yes, lime can be a suitable alternative to lemon in this recipe, but it would slightly alter the taste.

What kind of vinegar works best in a Lemon Shrub cocktail?

While the recipe suggests using any vinegar or apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar are also great options for a more subtle flavor.

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