Smoky Beet Shrub
Images by Kristy Gardner -

Images by Kristy Gardner -

Images by Kristy Gardner -

Images by Kristy Gardner -

By Kristy Gardner -

Ask any good locavore and they’ll tell you the root of all evil is not enjoying the beautiful summer produce while we have it. That, and not getting in on the shrub action while it’s hot. 

Shrubs are kind of a thing now, right? Never mind that they preserve the seasonal bounty (yum), are good for your gut (yay), and can be used as a glaze for Ocean Wise grilled fish (uh, yes please). The acidic, fruity nature of drinking vinegars pairs perfectly with the floral notes of a good quality gin… Which together, tastes amazing. At this time of year, I constantly have at least a few jars macerating in the back of the fridge. 

The smoky beet shrub is an earthy cocktail and a refreshing way to cool down after a fruitful morning at the farmers’ market. In fact, you can score just about every ingredient directly from the farmers. Now that’s a delicious haul!

Note: requires 2 days maceration before using
Serves 1

Beet shrub

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 4 medium-sized beets, diced into 1 cm pieces


  • 2 shots Phillips Stump Gin
  • 1 shot beet shrub
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ice cubes 
  • good quality tonic water

To serve: crushed ice and a sprig of fresh mint

To make the shrub, combine apple cider vinegar, cane sugar, mint, paprika, and salt in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the beets. Mix well and cover. Place in the fridge to macerate for two days, giving the mixture a good stir halfway through. Strain in a fine mesh strainer, pour the liquid into a clean jar, and seal tightly. This recipe makes 1¼ cups of beet shrub, which will keep in the fridge for 4–6 weeks.

To make the cocktail, pour gin, beet shrub, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker or Mason jar. Top with ice cubes and stir for 20 seconds. Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice. Strain the liquid into the prepared glass. Top with tonic water and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint. Enjoy!

Tip: Discard the beet solids when the shrub has been strained or better yet, use them as a “pickle” garnish on cheese boards or sprinkle on top of Sundays pulled pork pancakes!

Writer, photographer, and author of the forthcoming Cooking with Cocktails: 100 Spirited Recipes (Countryman Press), Kristy Gardner has a penchant for seasonal cocktails, carbs, bad ’80s films, bourbon, and pigs. Find her at