How to Make Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Shrub Cocktail Recipes

A strawberry and holy basil spritzer in a jar with berries and herbs. 

A friend called the other day and before I had a chance to finish with “Hello” she asked, “What was that vinegar drink you made last summer? The zingy one with basil and berries?” It was a shrub: a “zingy” drinking vinegar infused with fruit. Apparently, my friend had a craving because berry season is upon us. It was a good reminder—this is a perfect time to start infusing vinegars with herbs and fruit for both refreshing summer drinks and herbal formulations for later in the year. I love the allure of a jar full of drinking vinegar and the potential it represents for delicious, healthful sipping. Infuse berries and we’re also well on our way to a perfect shrub cocktail/mocktail season.

What is that apple cider vinegar drink?

Drinking vinegars are siblings to oxymels in that they both involve an acid (traditionally vinegars) and a sweetener. An oxymel is honey-sweetened whereas drinking vinegars can be sweetened with sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, etc. Another version of drinking vinegar is the “switchel,” which was traditionally apple cider vinegar mixed with a ginger root infusion and sweetened with molasses. A shrub is a drinking vinegar with the addition of fruit (or sometimes vegetables) and is often (but doesn’t have to be) a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar.

The recipes below use “cold” preparation methods. You’ll note that we recommend organic apple cider vinegar for the drinking vinegar recipe, but you can use any vinegar you like, although you may want to be strategic in using strongly flavored ones like balsamic so they don’t overwhelm the other flavors. For shrubs—especially those destined to be mixed with some kind of seltzer or added to mocktail/cocktail recipes—a champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar is often a nice choice. You do want to make sure you’re using a vinegar that is about 5% acidity.

The sweetener you use is also up to you. I love the mix of apple cider vinegar and raw honey for wellness-focused herbal formulations; I tend to take them by the spoonful as a tonic or mix them with sparkling water and I appreciate the honey flavor. But organic white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc. are all acceptable. For mocktail/cocktail sipping vinegars and almost always with shrubs, I prefer organic sugar so the other flavors are forward facing. Whatever you like best, do that!

Someone straining a holy basil drinking vinegar.


Infusing Vinegars with Holy Basil

Adaptogenic holy basil, or tulsi, has been revered in India for its health and wellness attributes for thousands of years and is considered one of the most cherished and sacred healing botanicals. Ancient Ayurvedic texts describe it as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulasi and a pillar of holistic herbal medicine. Tulsi, especially the Krishna and the Rama varieties, lends itself well to sipping vinegars. These cousins to sweet basil have peppery, lemony leaves and undertones of clove and licorice, which make them a good match for vinegars. Krishna is particularly popular in wellness formulations and Rama is known for its cooling qualities and mellow flavor. 

Tulsi & Damiana Drinking Vinegar Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Put holy basil and damiana leaf in a sterilized quart-size jar.
  2. Cover with apple cider vinegar, making sure to cover the herbs completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily.
  5. For drinking vinegar or cocktail/mocktail shrub infuse 1-2 weeks to achieve the flavor you like. For herbal preparations, infuse 6-8 weeks.
  6. Strain through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer). Compost basil and damiana leaf.
  7. For every 1/2 cup infused vinegar, whisk in 1 Tbsp. honey or sugar. Add more to taste.
  8. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Stored in refrigerator, shelf life is up to six months.
  9. Take as a tonic by the tablespoon or shot glass.

Pro Tip: This sipping vinegar is also good mixed with herbal teas

Tulsi & Damiana Spritzer Recipe

Makes one 12 oz. beverage.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Rama damiana drinking vinegar (recipe above)
  • Sparkling water, club soda, seltzer, or other bubbly water

Directions

  1. Add an ice cube or two to a 12 oz. glass.
  2. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of tulsi and damiana drinking vinegar
  3. Fill glass with bubbly or sparkling water of choice, and stir.
  4. Add more Rama damiana drinking vinegar to taste.

Hands cutting fresh strawberries, surrounded by blueberries and other fresh ingredients.

Holy Basil Strawberry Shrub Recipe (Two Ways)

Technically you can use any holy basil, depending on what you prefer, but Krishna tulsi is particularly good in a strawberry shrub. There are two ways to create this fantastic flavor combination. Each gives you a somewhat different flavor profile, but both are excellent. The first is to make a Krishna holy basil drinking vinegar with the method we used above, and then add macerated strawberries after the fact. This is handy if you have drinking vinegar already made in your refrigerator. The second method is a cold preparation in which you combine the berries with the vinegar and basil in the jar to infuse together for two weeks, strain, and then add sugar. This gives you a stellar ready-to-go shrub that you can make into a spritzer or cocktails/mocktails whenever the mood strikes you, and because you’ve strained out the fresh fruit, it has a longer shelf life.

Krishna Strawberry Shrub Method #1

Makes 2+ cups shrub.

This method blends fresh berries into a pre-made drinking vinegar. This highlights the summery flavor of the fruit, but shortens the shelf life, so plan to use it within a couple weeks.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic Krishna holy basil
  • 3-plus cups organic champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh, sliced, organic strawberries or other berries of choice
  • Up to 1/2 cup organic sugar, raw honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.

Directions

  1. Put 2 cups Krishna holy basil in a sterilized quart-size jar.
  2. Cover with vinegar of choice, making sure to cover the herbs completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily.
  5. For drinking vinegar or cocktail/mocktail shrub infuse 1-2 weeks to achieve flavor you like. For herbal preparations, infuse up to 6 weeks.
  6. Strain through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer). Compost basil.
  7. At this point you can add macerated strawberries or you can store drinking vinegar in a sealed jar in refrigerator (remember to label with contents and date) and add strawberries whenever you’re ready. Unsweetened drinking vinegar without the fruit will be shelf-stable for up to 6 months.
  8. Place sliced strawberries in a bowl, pour in 3-4 Tbsp. sugar or other sweetener, and stir to thoroughly incorporate. Cover bowl and put in refrigerator. Let macerate several hours and up to overnight, until fruit is very soft and is surrounded by syrupy juices.
  9. Mash berries with juices.
  10. Whisk berries, with all juices, into strained vinegar. Alternatively, blend macerated berries with strained vinegar using an immersion blender or combine in a regular blender and blend to incorporate.
  11. Adjust sweetener according to taste, blending in 1-2 Tbsp. at a time until perfect for your palate.
  12. Store in a sealed jar in refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Use within 2-3 weeks.
  13. Take as a tonic by the tablespoon or shot glass, mix with bubbly water to make a spritzer (recipe above), or make a Krishna strawberry cocktail/mocktail (recipe below).

Pro Tips 

  • Because we are keeping the berries in the vinegar, the shelf life of this shrub is not as long. If you want to extend shelf life to 6-8 weeks, add the full 1/2 cup sugar to berries (equal parts berries and sugar) to macerate, mash as directed, then strain out berry pulp without pressing. Whisk berry syrup without fruit into vinegar. Use berry pulp in another dish, as topping on pancakes, ice cream, etc.
  • You can use thawed frozen berries if you don’t have fresh.

Strawberry and holy basil shrub cocktail.


Krishna Strawberry Shrub Method #2

Makes about 2 cups shrub.

This is, hands down, my favorite shrub-making method for refreshing summer spritzers and cocktails—it’s easy and the flavor is, I think, superior. This cold preparation method uses about equal parts holy basil, strawberries, vinegar, and sugar by volume. If you are concerned about the amount of sugar, remember that shrubs are a concentrate and you’re only using a couple tablespoons of it mixed with seltzer water or in cocktail/mocktails. So, while the sugar content may seem high, it does an excellent job of letting the fruit shine, it makes the shelf life of the shrub significantly longer, and a little bit goes a long way.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced fresh organic strawberries or other berries of choice
  • 1 cup organic Krishna holy basil
  • 3 cups organic white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or other vinegar of choice
  • 2+ cups organic sugar

Directions

  1. Lightly mash berries with a fork and put into sterilized quart-size jar with Krishna tulsi.
  2. Pour vinegar over berries and holy basil, making sure to cover completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Shake well and set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily. 
  5. Infuse 2 weeks. Vinegar should be deeply colored.
  6. Strain without pressing through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer) until dripping stops, about 1/2 hour. Compost basil and berries.
  7. Measure the strained vinegar. Add an equal amount of sugar by volume and whisk until dissolved. Add more sugar to taste.
  8. Store in a sealed jar in refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Shelf life is up to 6 months.

Pro Tip: You can use thawed frozen berries if you dont have fresh. This is a wonderful solution in the winter.

 


Strawberry Shrub Cocktail

Makes one 12 oz. drink

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fresh or frozen organic strawberry
  • 1 medium fresh basil leaf (sweet or Thai basil)
  • 2 strips lemon peel (1/2-3/4” wide) 
  • Juice of 1/2 organic lemon
  • Ice cubes
  • 2-4 Tbsp. (1-2 oz.) Krishna Strawberry Shrub (recipe above)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. (1-2 oz.) Vodka of choice
  • Cold club soda or unflavored sparkling water
  • Fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a 12 oz. tumbler, muddle together the strawberry, basil, and lemon peel.
  2. Add lemon juice, vodka, and shrub.
  3. Add ice cubes until glass is half full and mix with spoon.
  4. While continuing to mix gently, slowly add club soda to almost fill glass. Adjust flavors as necessary and top off glass with club soda.
  5. Garnish with optional fresh strawberry slices.

Pro Tip: This drink will have bits of muddled strawberries, lemon, and basil. If you don’t like that, muddle fruit and basil in a separate container and follow the recipe through step 3. Add more ice to 12 oz. tumbler, then pour drink through a strainer into the tumbler. Top off tumbler with club soda and garnish with optional strawberry slices.

 

Looking for a Perfect Strawberry & Holy Basil Mocktail?

Try this Holy Basil & Strawberry Agua Fesca Mocktail Recipe!

 

You may also enjoy:

Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Strawberry Shrub Cocktail Recipes Pinterest pin for Mountain Rose Herbs.

 

 

 

 


Topics: Recipes, Herbalism, Tea & Herbal Drinks

Heidi

Written by Heidi on June 8, 2022

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.


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How to Make Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Shrub Cocktail Recipes

A strawberry and holy basil spritzer in a jar with berries and herbs. 

A friend called the other day and before I had a chance to finish with “Hello” she asked, “What was that vinegar drink you made last summer? The zingy one with basil and berries?” It was a shrub: a “zingy” drinking vinegar infused with fruit. Apparently, my friend had a craving because berry season is upon us. It was a good reminder—this is a perfect time to start infusing vinegars with herbs and fruit for both refreshing summer drinks and herbal formulations for later in the year. I love the allure of a jar full of drinking vinegar and the potential it represents for delicious, healthful sipping. Infuse berries and we’re also well on our way to a perfect shrub cocktail/mocktail season.

What is that apple cider vinegar drink?

Drinking vinegars are siblings to oxymels in that they both involve an acid (traditionally vinegars) and a sweetener. An oxymel is honey-sweetened whereas drinking vinegars can be sweetened with sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, etc. Another version of drinking vinegar is the “switchel,” which was traditionally apple cider vinegar mixed with a ginger root infusion and sweetened with molasses. A shrub is a drinking vinegar with the addition of fruit (or sometimes vegetables) and is often (but doesn’t have to be) a 1:1:1 ratio of fruit, sugar, and vinegar.

The recipes below use “cold” preparation methods. You’ll note that we recommend organic apple cider vinegar for the drinking vinegar recipe, but you can use any vinegar you like, although you may want to be strategic in using strongly flavored ones like balsamic so they don’t overwhelm the other flavors. For shrubs—especially those destined to be mixed with some kind of seltzer or added to mocktail/cocktail recipes—a champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar is often a nice choice. You do want to make sure you’re using a vinegar that is about 5% acidity.

The sweetener you use is also up to you. I love the mix of apple cider vinegar and raw honey for wellness-focused herbal formulations; I tend to take them by the spoonful as a tonic or mix them with sparkling water and I appreciate the honey flavor. But organic white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc. are all acceptable. For mocktail/cocktail sipping vinegars and almost always with shrubs, I prefer organic sugar so the other flavors are forward facing. Whatever you like best, do that!

Someone straining a holy basil drinking vinegar.


Infusing Vinegars with Holy Basil

Adaptogenic holy basil, or tulsi, has been revered in India for its health and wellness attributes for thousands of years and is considered one of the most cherished and sacred healing botanicals. Ancient Ayurvedic texts describe it as an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulasi and a pillar of holistic herbal medicine. Tulsi, especially the Krishna and the Rama varieties, lends itself well to sipping vinegars. These cousins to sweet basil have peppery, lemony leaves and undertones of clove and licorice, which make them a good match for vinegars. Krishna is particularly popular in wellness formulations and Rama is known for its cooling qualities and mellow flavor. 

Tulsi & Damiana Drinking Vinegar Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Put holy basil and damiana leaf in a sterilized quart-size jar.
  2. Cover with apple cider vinegar, making sure to cover the herbs completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily.
  5. For drinking vinegar or cocktail/mocktail shrub infuse 1-2 weeks to achieve the flavor you like. For herbal preparations, infuse 6-8 weeks.
  6. Strain through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer). Compost basil and damiana leaf.
  7. For every 1/2 cup infused vinegar, whisk in 1 Tbsp. honey or sugar. Add more to taste.
  8. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Stored in refrigerator, shelf life is up to six months.
  9. Take as a tonic by the tablespoon or shot glass.

Pro Tip: This sipping vinegar is also good mixed with herbal teas

Tulsi & Damiana Spritzer Recipe

Makes one 12 oz. beverage.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Rama damiana drinking vinegar (recipe above)
  • Sparkling water, club soda, seltzer, or other bubbly water

Directions

  1. Add an ice cube or two to a 12 oz. glass.
  2. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of tulsi and damiana drinking vinegar
  3. Fill glass with bubbly or sparkling water of choice, and stir.
  4. Add more Rama damiana drinking vinegar to taste.

Hands cutting fresh strawberries, surrounded by blueberries and other fresh ingredients.

Holy Basil Strawberry Shrub Recipe (Two Ways)

Technically you can use any holy basil, depending on what you prefer, but Krishna tulsi is particularly good in a strawberry shrub. There are two ways to create this fantastic flavor combination. Each gives you a somewhat different flavor profile, but both are excellent. The first is to make a Krishna holy basil drinking vinegar with the method we used above, and then add macerated strawberries after the fact. This is handy if you have drinking vinegar already made in your refrigerator. The second method is a cold preparation in which you combine the berries with the vinegar and basil in the jar to infuse together for two weeks, strain, and then add sugar. This gives you a stellar ready-to-go shrub that you can make into a spritzer or cocktails/mocktails whenever the mood strikes you, and because you’ve strained out the fresh fruit, it has a longer shelf life.

Krishna Strawberry Shrub Method #1

Makes 2+ cups shrub.

This method blends fresh berries into a pre-made drinking vinegar. This highlights the summery flavor of the fruit, but shortens the shelf life, so plan to use it within a couple weeks.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic Krishna holy basil
  • 3-plus cups organic champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh, sliced, organic strawberries or other berries of choice
  • Up to 1/2 cup organic sugar, raw honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.

Directions

  1. Put 2 cups Krishna holy basil in a sterilized quart-size jar.
  2. Cover with vinegar of choice, making sure to cover the herbs completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily.
  5. For drinking vinegar or cocktail/mocktail shrub infuse 1-2 weeks to achieve flavor you like. For herbal preparations, infuse up to 6 weeks.
  6. Strain through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer). Compost basil.
  7. At this point you can add macerated strawberries or you can store drinking vinegar in a sealed jar in refrigerator (remember to label with contents and date) and add strawberries whenever you’re ready. Unsweetened drinking vinegar without the fruit will be shelf-stable for up to 6 months.
  8. Place sliced strawberries in a bowl, pour in 3-4 Tbsp. sugar or other sweetener, and stir to thoroughly incorporate. Cover bowl and put in refrigerator. Let macerate several hours and up to overnight, until fruit is very soft and is surrounded by syrupy juices.
  9. Mash berries with juices.
  10. Whisk berries, with all juices, into strained vinegar. Alternatively, blend macerated berries with strained vinegar using an immersion blender or combine in a regular blender and blend to incorporate.
  11. Adjust sweetener according to taste, blending in 1-2 Tbsp. at a time until perfect for your palate.
  12. Store in a sealed jar in refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Use within 2-3 weeks.
  13. Take as a tonic by the tablespoon or shot glass, mix with bubbly water to make a spritzer (recipe above), or make a Krishna strawberry cocktail/mocktail (recipe below).

Pro Tips 

  • Because we are keeping the berries in the vinegar, the shelf life of this shrub is not as long. If you want to extend shelf life to 6-8 weeks, add the full 1/2 cup sugar to berries (equal parts berries and sugar) to macerate, mash as directed, then strain out berry pulp without pressing. Whisk berry syrup without fruit into vinegar. Use berry pulp in another dish, as topping on pancakes, ice cream, etc.
  • You can use thawed frozen berries if you don’t have fresh.

Strawberry and holy basil shrub cocktail.


Krishna Strawberry Shrub Method #2

Makes about 2 cups shrub.

This is, hands down, my favorite shrub-making method for refreshing summer spritzers and cocktails—it’s easy and the flavor is, I think, superior. This cold preparation method uses about equal parts holy basil, strawberries, vinegar, and sugar by volume. If you are concerned about the amount of sugar, remember that shrubs are a concentrate and you’re only using a couple tablespoons of it mixed with seltzer water or in cocktail/mocktails. So, while the sugar content may seem high, it does an excellent job of letting the fruit shine, it makes the shelf life of the shrub significantly longer, and a little bit goes a long way.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced fresh organic strawberries or other berries of choice
  • 1 cup organic Krishna holy basil
  • 3 cups organic white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or other vinegar of choice
  • 2+ cups organic sugar

Directions

  1. Lightly mash berries with a fork and put into sterilized quart-size jar with Krishna tulsi.
  2. Pour vinegar over berries and holy basil, making sure to cover completely.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a nonreactive lid or place wax paper or plastic wrap between jar and a metal lid to avoid a reaction with the vinegar.
  4. Shake well and set jar on the counter. Shake twice daily. 
  5. Infuse 2 weeks. Vinegar should be deeply colored.
  6. Strain without pressing through cheesecloth (you may need more than one layer) until dripping stops, about 1/2 hour. Compost basil and berries.
  7. Measure the strained vinegar. Add an equal amount of sugar by volume and whisk until dissolved. Add more sugar to taste.
  8. Store in a sealed jar in refrigerator. Remember to label jar with contents and date. Shelf life is up to 6 months.

Pro Tip: You can use thawed frozen berries if you dont have fresh. This is a wonderful solution in the winter.

 


Strawberry Shrub Cocktail

Makes one 12 oz. drink

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fresh or frozen organic strawberry
  • 1 medium fresh basil leaf (sweet or Thai basil)
  • 2 strips lemon peel (1/2-3/4” wide) 
  • Juice of 1/2 organic lemon
  • Ice cubes
  • 2-4 Tbsp. (1-2 oz.) Krishna Strawberry Shrub (recipe above)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. (1-2 oz.) Vodka of choice
  • Cold club soda or unflavored sparkling water
  • Fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a 12 oz. tumbler, muddle together the strawberry, basil, and lemon peel.
  2. Add lemon juice, vodka, and shrub.
  3. Add ice cubes until glass is half full and mix with spoon.
  4. While continuing to mix gently, slowly add club soda to almost fill glass. Adjust flavors as necessary and top off glass with club soda.
  5. Garnish with optional fresh strawberry slices.

Pro Tip: This drink will have bits of muddled strawberries, lemon, and basil. If you don’t like that, muddle fruit and basil in a separate container and follow the recipe through step 3. Add more ice to 12 oz. tumbler, then pour drink through a strainer into the tumbler. Top off tumbler with club soda and garnish with optional strawberry slices.

 

Looking for a Perfect Strawberry & Holy Basil Mocktail?

Try this Holy Basil & Strawberry Agua Fesca Mocktail Recipe!

 

You may also enjoy:

Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Strawberry Shrub Cocktail Recipes Pinterest pin for Mountain Rose Herbs.

 

 

 

 


Topics: Recipes, Herbalism, Tea & Herbal Drinks

Heidi

Written by Heidi on June 8, 2022

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.