I recently reviewed the wonderful beverage book Shrubs by Michael Dietsch. [Click here to see the review.] A shrub is a combination of fruit or vegetable plus vinegar and sugar. The sugar is for, well, sweetness. The vinegar for preservation and when drunk to inspire salivation. Seriously.

Once your shrub is made, you can drink it in water, sparkling water, sparkling wine, or in a cocktail with some higher octane ingredient.

Cucumber and gin are marriage that will always be treasured by cocktail enthusiasts. In Shrubs, there is a recipe for this cucumber shrub you’ll find below and a note that this shrub is good with gin. Ah, but I’ve gone further here. You find Brian’s Cucumber Shrub, Mint Syrup and Gin cocktail. It’s refreshing with a kick. The vinegar in the shrub is offset by the mint syrup, and then the notes of the gin can just silently but decisively slip through.

If the temperature is over 80° you simply must give this a try. And, unlike many shrub recipes, this one can be made and used in just minutes.

For a review of Shrubs, please click here!

Cucumber Shrub

Yield: 2 cups


  • 2 large cucumbers
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt.


Peel and seed the cucumbers. Cut into chunks. Put the chunks in a blender and process until totally pureed.

Pour the puree into sieve and let the liquid drain through into a bowl. Then using a spoon, press down on the residual solids to extract all the juice you can.

Put the sieved juice, the vinegars, the sugar and the salt, in jar or bottle. Shake to combine and refrigerate. Use cold for beverages.

Brian’s Cucumber Shrub, Mint Syrup and Gin Cocktail

Yield: scales as you need


  • 2 parts cucumber shrub
  • 2 parts gin
  • 1 part mint syrup


Place all three ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass with a layer of crushed ice.

If you desire, rim the glass the sugar.

If you need to make sugar syrup, put 3 cups of sugar, 3 cups of water, and one bunch of mint into a saucepan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the mint and let the syrup cool. Then bottle and refrigerate.

Source for the Shrub: Shrubs by Michael Dietsch [Countryman Press, 2014]

Source for the Cocktail: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18-55mm Macro Lens, f/4.5, 1/50th second, ISO-500