The Squire’s Shrub Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow | December 29, 2015
Get ready to try my Cocktail Whisperer’s twisted take on the French 75, that classic combination of gin, champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup. This version is actually a hybrid of the French 75 and the traditional champagne cocktail, which calls for a bitters-moistened sugar cube, brandy, and a heady top of champagne. Fuse the two together, add a healthy whack of tart, fruity Squire’s Shrub, and you’ve got a cocktail that’ll make your knees tremble. In the same way that alchemists of old strove to turn base metals into gold, champagne can turn a plain old Tuesday into a full-on, hat-waving celebration. Be sure to keep a bottle on hand so you can whip these up the next time you find yourself hosting an impromptu shindig. Make a few batches of the Squire’s, if you dare—just keep that bottle of Fernet Branca on hand for the morning after.


  • 1 brown sugar cube
  • Several dashes of lemon bitters
  • 1⁄2 ounce (15 ml) botanical gin
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub (recipe follows)
  • 1 1⁄2 ounces (45 ml) champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • l long lemon zest twist


Add the sugar cube to a champagne flute, and moisten with the lemon bitters. Then add the gin and the Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub, and top with champagne. Garnish with a long lemon zest twist. Note: To prepare this flute, combine very finely chopped lemon zest and sugar, wet the rim of the glass with lemon, and dip the glass into yellow-colored sugar. Voila!

The Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub

It’s true, the Squire’s Shrub does require a couple of extra steps, but I promise it’s worth your while: Your patience will be rewarded with a lush, crimson colored syrup that’s straight out of the eighteenth century, when America was in its infancy and early pharmacists would have relied on their gardens to supply the basis for their healing tonics. (Rhubarb has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years.) There’s nothing difficult to it, though, beyond a little extra mixing, and roasting your fruit before making the shrub. The vinegar’s high acidity cuts through the sumptuous, charred, caramelized flavor of the roasted strawberries and rhubarb, making it a seductive addition to gin, vodka, and rum-based libations.

2 cups (340 g)
Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb 
1 cup (200 g) Demerara sugar
1 cup (235 ml) light balsamic vinegar

Time: 3–4 weeks. Add the roasted strawberries and rhubarb to a nonreactive bowl. Cover with the sugar, stir to combine, and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave at cool room temperature for 24 hours. Stir frequently during this time to combine as the berries and rhubarb give off their liquid. Place a nonreactive strainer above a second nonreactive bowl, pour the fruit-sugar mixture into the strainer, and use a wooden spoon to mash the mixture in order to release as much liquid as possible.

(Reserve the mashed fruit to use in cooking or baking, if you like.) Add the balsamic vinegar to the liquid, stir, and let the mixture sit for a few hours. Funnel into sterilized bottles or jars, and age for 3–4 weeks in the refrigerator. This shrub will last nearly indefinitely, but if it begins to quiver, dance, or speak in foreign languages, throw it out.

Excerpted from Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails, and Elixirs by Warren Bobrow (Fair Winds Press, 2015).

  • The Squire’s Shrub Cocktail