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cranberry shrub cocktail

This is my favorite holiday cocktail. A festive cranberry shrub that is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and gently spiced with black peppercorns for some earthy roundness. A perfectly and naturally colored, vibrant red imbibe that can be served with or without alcohol. It says Christmas but without being too Christmas-y. You know what I mean?

I love a good holiday cocktail. I especially love with they’re infused with seasonal fruit and herbs. If they’re low in sugar and alcohol and loaded with antioxidants – they’re good for you right? I thought so. If you’re into this kind of cocktail too, here is my list for ten healthy cocktails. They are all great for right now, anytime or to ring in the New Year with. 

You might be a little apprehensive about the use of black peppercorn in this cranberry shrub. But I promise you it works. It’s not spicy. It is actually used to mellow the tartness of the cranberry. And give it some well-rounded earthy tones.

This cranberry cocktail with black peppercorns and maple syrup is the perfect cocktail for this time of year. Bring it to holiday parties, or stock your home bar with the cranberry shrub to have it on hand when friends pop over. I’ll be doing exactly that from now until after New Years.

How to make a cranberry shrub.

In my opinion there isn’t a right or wrong way to make a shrub. You can use a hot method (like here) or a cold method. Making shrubs on the stovetop (hot method)are a little bit of a shortcut. But it’s one I completely approve of.  

Making this cranberry shrub is so easy. First you bring some water and peppercorns to a simmer. Then you add in the fresh cranberries and cook them down until the liquid is bright red. This will take about ten minutes. 

Then you remove the pan from the heat and add in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Strain, cool and store in an air-tight container. That’s it. If you want to use it in a cocktail you can play around with the ratios and kind of spirit. I love this cranberry shrub with gin and sparkling water. Enjoy! 

strainer with cranberry sauce

cranberry cocktail with black pepper

cranberry shrub with black pepper

Yield: 1 cup

Cranberry Shrub with Black Pepper and Maple

A cranberry shrub cocktail (or mocktail) with black peppercorns and maple syrup. A super easy and festive cocktail that's made for the fall, winter and holiday season.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup


  1. Bring the water and peppercorns to a simmer in a medium sized sauce pan.
  2. Then add the cranberries and simmer until the cranberries are totally cooked down and the liquid is bright red. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Stir and then strain the mixture through a sieve into a glass jar.
  3. This cranberry shrub can be served over ice with equal parts club soda. Or as a cocktail by combining 1 ounce of gin or vodka with 1 tablespoon shrub over ice and topped with club soda. 

Eden Passante

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

What a great flavor combo! Sounds amazing and look at that color!!


Tuesday 29th of December 2015

Sherri…I pinned this a few days ago and can't stop staring at it! It's just so beautiful! So…getting out the remaining cranberries from the fridge right now to make this for our New Years party! Happy New Year…thinking of you and wishing you all the best. xo


Tuesday 10th of November 2015

This color is SO freaking beautiful! Congrats on your insanely beautiful cover and feature in FEAST, so well deserved! Can't wait to make this shrub



Monday 16th of November 2015

Thanks Kristan, I couldn't have done it without your support. Thanks for always lending an ear and heart. You are the best, xx!!


Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Love everything about this - from getting more of a sneak peek into your life to just how super delicious this drink sounds. As soon as I get my hands on some cranberries, I'm making a vat of this.


Monday 16th of November 2015

Thanks Kathryn!! I'm really looking forward to sharing more. All my love to you always, xx!!


Thursday 5th of November 2015

This turned out great! I was leery of the cup of vinegar, but it all just blends into the melange of gin botanicals and peppercorns. Perfect amount of sweetness, too. Very glad to have made this half-sugar/maple version, and even gladder to have a jar in my fridge for the weekend! Next time I want to try it with Szechuan peppercorns and Rosemary... yum.


Monday 16th of November 2015

Hi Rachey - I hear you, it's somewhat of an intimating amount of vinegar, but it comes together nicely right? I'm really glad you gave it go. Let me know if you add in rosemary, that sounds amazing!! xx

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