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In his wonderful book Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, Michael Dietsch offers shrub ideas aplenty. I’ve reviewed the book and offered some recipe ideas before. There are fruity flavor ideas that you might expect — orange and rhubarb — and combinations that will both surprise and please — strawberry pepper and watermelon lime.

And then, there are the unexpected ones. This is Tomatillo Week on the blog and here is Michael’s Tomatillo Shrub. What can you use this for? Well, tomatillos are not tomatoes but the spicy tomatillo flavor can replace that complex tomato‑horseradish‑Worcestershire‑and‑other‑stuff mix that you put in your Bloody Mary.

Try this shrub with vodkas, gin, rums aged and spiced. You are sure to find some combination that pleases you tongue. This will produce a spicy beverage for sure, so the accompaniments need to be equally strong: honey roasted nuts is the perfect match for the sweetness in the nuts can complement the inherent sourness of the tomatillo.

Oh, yes. The picture above shows a bowl of tomatillos with their flavor buddies, jalapenos. While Michael does not suggest adding chile here, feel free to improvise. A half a jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, will accentuate the flavor of your beverage.

Drink away!

Tomatillo Shrub

Yield: 1 ½ cups


  • 1 pound tomatillos, hulled and quartered [or about 1 cup of tomatillo juice]
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


Puree tomatillos in blender until smooth.

Press puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. You should have about 1 cup tomatillo juice.

Combine tomatillo juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt in a nonreactive container. Seal it all up and give it a good shake. Refrigerate. It will store well for up to a month.

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

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for1/30th second at ISO‑640