Celebrate the New Year, and Dry January, with a fresh Cranberry Shrub

Have you heard about dry January?

It is a movement to encourage us to abstain from alcohol for the month of January, and they are finding long term health benefits from those who participate.  If you are going to jump in and try hitting the social scene sans alcohol here is a recipe you can use to make your own shrub to use for a non-alcoholic drink that is fancy and delicious.

Shrub is vinegar based, and is a tangy addition you can sip on straight, or mix with some bubbly water for a sparkling treat (the straight up shrub is a bit too strong for me, but my husband thinks it is delicious).  I always reserve a few cranberries for garnish, and add an orange slice to my glass to feel extra fancy!  I recommend using a high quality apple cider vinegar (we like Braggs).

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 8 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water, cinnamon, allspice berries, sugar and cranberries until the mixture starts to boil.  Reduce the heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cranberries are soft, around 8-10 minutes
  2. Remove from heat and pass the cranberries mixture through a mesh strainer, collecting the liquid into a bowl. Try pressing down to extract as much as possible from the cranberries.
  3. Add the vinegar to the cranberry syrup and transfer the shrub into a bottle or jar. It can be kept in the fridge for several months.

To make a healthy, beautiful and fancy drink, try adding ¾ oz of shrub to a small glass of bubbly water, drop in a few bitters, and garnish with fresh cranberries and an orange slice.  I have also added a bit of ginger ale if I am looking for something a bit sweeter.

Enjoy the new year, and cheers to your health!

Julie McCormick, L.Ac., (FABORM)

Photo by Thomas Franke on Unsplash