Cheery, Pink Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub Mocktail
Image Credit: Seasonal Strawberry Mocktail

With the festive season around the corner and winter produce galore, a fitting Christmas feast is in the works. Tables groaning under the weight of roast chicken or pork, mash potatoes, gravy and winter vegetables remind us to stop for a moment and make merry. In the spirit of Christmas and strawberries available abundantly, a sprightly mocktail serves as a speed-breaker to the heavy binging. It also ensures that kids and teetotallers have something fun to look forward to while also adding a pop of pink to all the cheer.

The recipe for this strawberry shrub can be easily adapted to make a sharp cocktail using gin or vodka, served with a wedge of orange. The interesting addition of balsamic vinegar and red chilli flakes give the tartness some dimension and body. You can make a batch of this ahead of time and refrigerate so you can potter about the kitchen fixing other details of your grand feast. The mocktail is floral, sweet, spicy and tart, at once and is yet another way to celebrate the winter fruit. It serves as the perfect drink to make for crowds at your next festive dinner or a girls’ night — you’ve got it covered.

Strawberry Shrub



250 grams fresh strawberries

¾-1 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of your strawberries

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chilli flakes


Blitz the strawberries using a hand blender or a regular one. Add the strawberries and sugar to a medium-sized pan and cook it on a low heat for about 6-8 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Turn off the pan and add the balsamic vinegar and chilli flakes. Once cooled, transfer to a bottle and refrigerate until use.

To Serve: Add 1/4th cup of the concentrated strawberry mixture to a tall glass with ice cubes, top up with soda and a wedge of lime. Stir well before drinking.

You can also add 40 ml of gin or vodka to the soda and concentrate for a potent berry cocktail.