O Dominatrix! A Citrus Shrub

two jars of citrus shrubs - one made with champagne vinegar (bright orange) and one made using red wine vinegar (a rusty red).

A shrub is a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and fruit or vegetables. Nothing stopping you from throwing in herbs. You can use any sort of vinegar, though most recipes call for organic if available. This stuff is intense. It’s a process. Be patient. DO NOT, as I did, laugh while drinking it straight – it will go down the wrong way, go up your nose, and generally slap you silly from the inside. MIX it, people, with soda water. Like 10 to 1, soda to shrub. You can also use it in a mixed mocktail, should you so desire.
There are about 50 ways to make a shrub, more or less divided into “hot process” or “cold process”. I went for cold with this one. It can be kept for about 3 weeks in the fridge, and takes a few days to 1 week to mellow. Mellow is used as a relative term here. Mixed with soda, it is extremely refreshing and tingly. Add agave to taste, it removes any remaining sharpness.

I tried 2 versions – using the same fruit and sugar quantities, I used Red Wine Vinegar for one batch and Champagne Vinegar for the other. Both are lovely, but the Champagne version is a lot brighter. I bought the cheap stuff and it seemed fine, although in further adventures I found raw organic apple cider vinegar to be the best. I used the fruit as listed below. The orange definitely dominated (hence the name), so you could switch them out for lemons or grapefruit if you prefer. I have seen warnings that limes are too bitter (because of the zest?) so of course I will try limes next and let you know!

O Dominatrix! Recipe

  • 1 cup citrus juice – I used 1 grapefruit, 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from the fruit you used for the juice
  • 1 cup vinegar
  1. Juice the fruit, refrigerate until required.
  2. Remove the zest from the fruit, being careful to include as little pith (the white stuff) as possible.
  3. In a bowl, mix the sugar and zest and give it a thorough pounding to mix. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours – 24 hours.
  4. Mix the sugar and the vinegar, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a sterilised glass jar or bottle (close with a sterilised lid). Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Give it a stir at least once a day.

You can start drinking this right away if you like that sort of punishment, and of course you should try a little straight, just to say you did. Otherwise wait at least 4 days and mix it with lots of soda or water over ice. A little goes a long way – feel free to add agave or honey if it’s too sharp for you.

4 picture showing some of the steps in making O Dominatrix!, a citrus shrub.