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I know what you’re thinking, “Duh, it’s a bush you plant in front of your house.” True, but I’m not talking about that kind of shrub. I’m talking about a cocktail shrub. A cocktail shrub is a drinking vinegar first made popular in the colonial era. A drink George Washington may have enjoyed. Around 2010, shrubs made a comeback in craft cocktails and have been a staple in bars and on bar carts ever since.

Drinking vinegar sounds a bit strange, but I promise it’s so much more than that. Shrubs usually start with fruit like limes, cranberries, grapefruit, or cherries. Then they are fermented with sugar and vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar). While they contain sugar, shrubs are a great substitute for sugary sweet syrups giving each cocktail a complex flavor profile. 

If you’re curious and want to give shrubs a try, then stop by Red Barn Mercantile on September 10 from 1pm to 4pm when Meredyth Archer, creator of Richmond-based MOTHER shrub, is crafting cocktails and mocktails for you to try. If you want to try your hand with shrubs at home, then mix up this delicious drink she will be serving:


  • 48 oz Brewed Hibiscus Tea, Sweetened to Taste

  • 8 oz Cranberry shrub from MOTHER Shrub

  • Favorite fruit, cut and added

  • Ice

Add sparkling water to each glass when serving.

For Sangria, top with prosecco when serving and/or add a shot of vodka for a little extra hit.

As part of the 2022 Old Town Cocktail Week (September 9 to 18), we are offering a buy three get one free of MOTHER shrub's 8-ounce bottles. To get in on the cocktail action, take a peek at the lineup of events you can find only in Old Town!