Make Ahead

Tomato Shrub

August 24, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by fiveandspice
Author Notes

A sweet, vinegary, tomatoey syrup for making into a version of a Bloody Mary or Michelada. Or use it as a sort of base for gazpacho or in a salad dressing or as a punchy consommé-type soup... —fiveandspice

  • Makes a couple cups (depends on the juiciness of your tomatoes)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • Worcestershire or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the vinegar (or Worcestershire or hot sauce) in a heavy bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, cover, and allow to sit in the fridge overnight. Strain the pulp and spices out and reserve the liquid. (If you fish out the spices, you can use the pulp as a kind of tomato jam, if you don't mind tomato peels and seeds). Adjust seasoning to your tastes: You can add Worcestershire to make it more savory or even stir in more sugar to take it in a sweeter direction for non-Bloody Mary type cocktails.
  2. The shrub will keep sealed in the refrigerator for a month or more, and will mellow over time. Shake an ounce or two of shrub with vodka, aquavit, or tequila strain over ice and garnish with Bloody Mary garnishes for a tangy take on a Bloody Mary. Or top some of the syrup with a pilsner-style beer for a variation on a Michelada.

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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.

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