Cherry Balsamic Shrub

Of all the shrubs I make, this marriage of cherries, balsamic vinegar and vanilla bean is always the most popular. I love the bit of luxury it brings to everything it touches. Because balsamic vinegar can be overwhelming on its own (not to mention pricey), I mix it with white vinegar here—and I use raw turbinado sugar, too, which adds a richness that’s missing from ordinary sugar. Stirred into sparkling water, the Cherry Balsamic Shrub becomes a grown-up cherry cream soda. As for cocktails, it mixes particularly well with bourbon. And don’t forget the possibilities when it comes to dessert: Toss a teaspoon or more over a bowl of good-quality vanilla ice cream, and dessert is served.

By / Photography By Emily Han | June 06, 2016


Place cherries in a bowl and lightly crush using a potato masher or fork. Transfer cherries and their juices to a sterilized quart jar. Pour balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar into jar, making sure cherries are completely submerged. Tuck vanilla bean into vinegar, too.

Wipe jar rim with a clean cloth. Cover jar with a nonreactive lid. Store jar in a cool, dark place for 1 week, shaking it daily and ensuring cherries and vanilla bean stay submerged. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard solids. Combine vinegar and sugar in a sterilized container with a nonreactive lid. Refrigerate for 1 week more, shaking jar daily to help dissolve sugar. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Kitchen Tip: Grinding turbinado sugar into smaller crystals will help it dissolve more quickly. To do so, use a clean food processor, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

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  • 2 cups pitted sweet cherries
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 cups turbinado sugar
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