Butternut Squash and Sage Shrub Recipe

Butternut Squash and Sage Shrub Recipe

A perfect beverage for fall, the butternut-sage shrub celebrates a fantastic seasonal pairing. This flavored drinking vinegar is a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up and dinner drink when topped with water. You can also use it to create some fascinating cocktails.

butternut squash and sage shrub

The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

Shrubs transform vinegar into a tart and sweet beverage concentrate flavored with any variety of fruits, herbs, and spices that you like. Butternut squash and fresh sage are featured in this recipe, and the sugar offsets the apple cider vinegar’s acidity to make it perfectly drinkable. It’s easy to make, requiring about 30 minutes of active time, and just needs a few days in the fridge for the flavor to fully develop.

While you can sip a small amount straight, shrubs are designed to be diluted, so top it with seltzer, still water, or a light soda like ginger ale. Shrubs are also wonderful cocktail mixers; try this one with vodka or light rum, or top it with sparkling wine.

“It was my first time trying a butternut squash shrub and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor! This refreshing shrub is tangy and sweet and really easy to make. I paired it with some sparkling water and the taste was something between soda and kombucha. I’ll definitely make this recipe again!” —Bahareh Niati

Butternut Squash and Sage Shrub Recipe/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 2 cups good quality apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash

  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, from about 8 sprigs

  • Cold seltzer, ginger ale, or still water, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make butternut squash and sage shrub

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  2. Place the apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the sugar. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

    stirring apple cider vinegar in a pot

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the butternut squash and sage. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is softened and easily pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

    chopped butternut squash and sage in apple cider vinegar

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  4. Remove from the heat. Lightly smash the softened squash with a potato masher or wooden spoon in the saucepan to release more flavor. Cover and steep for 3 hours.

    cooked butternut squash in apple cider vinegar

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  5. Strain the squash and sage from the liquid using a fine mesh strainer.

    butternut squash pulp in a strainer

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  6. Bottle the shrub, seal, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days before using.

    bottled butternut squash and sage shrub

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  7. To make a drink, pour 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) of the butternut-sage shrub into a glass (over ice, if you like). Top with about 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of cold seltzer, ginger ale, or water, pouring more or less to taste. Stir well.

    adding soda water to butternut squash and sage shrub

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

Tips

  • Butternut squash varies greatly in size. You’ll need about half of a large squash or a whole medium or small squash to get two cups of cubes. Be sure to scoop out the seedy pulp and remove all of the skin.
  • Tear the leaves slightly before adding them to the pan for a more robust sage flavor.
  • Switch to raw sugar for a slightly darker sweetness.
  • If bits of squash or sage are left in the shrub, strain it a second time through a layer of cheesecloth.

How to Make a Butternut-Sage Shrub Cocktail

Taste the shrub straight to get a sense of how to use it in cocktails. Vodka and light rum are the best options because they let the butternut squash and sage flavors shine with little interruption. However, tequila is an interesting alternative. You can also use a nonalcoholic rum or tequila for a tasty mocktail.

  • The simplest option is to add a shot of the liquor to the sparkling nonalcoholic drink. A nice prosecco is a good alternative to seltzers and sodas.
  • Another intriguing mix is 1 1/2 ounces each of the liquor and shrub shaken with 1 ounce of apple cider or juice. Strain it over fresh ice in an old-fashioned glass with a splash of soda.

From there, have fun exploring the possibilities of this shrub.

How to Store

The finished shrub should be stored refrigerated in a tightly sealed bottle. It will keep well for about one month.

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