This Non-Alcoholic Pumpkin Shrub Is Our New Fall Go-To

Who says pumpkin drinks can't have a welcome kick of acidity?


Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Liberty Fennell

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
5 ounces

We're big fans of a bright, acidic shrub, and while we often find ourselves making them with spring and summer produce, this fall-friendly riff makes use of just a few ingredients you likely have at home this time of year — pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and apple cider vinegar. — Oset Babür-Winter

Frequently asked questions

What is a shrub?

Shrubs are concentrated, vinegar-based syrups that have been either infused with or made from flavorings like fruit, flowers, and chiles. Shrubs have been around for centuries and were originally created to preserve herbs and roots by turning them into edible tinctures. They contain no alcohol, and their silky weight—similar to the texture of amaros and liqueurs — also brings body and depth to non-alcoholic cocktails, a segment of the drinks industry that was an early adopter of the vinegar-based syrup.

What can I substitute for apple cider vinegar?

If you don't have apple cider vinegar on hand, Champagne vinegar will pack a punch of acidity in salad dressings, sauces, and shrubs, though it lacks the apple flavor you'll want to enjoy in this drink in particular. Other shrubs make use of white balsamic vinegar, or even sherry vinegar.

What else can I make with pumpkin puree?

While you'll use up an entire 15-ounce can to make this shrub, there's plenty of other uses for pumpkin puree. Here are 22 pumpkin recipes to make this fall, including gluten-free pumpkin bread, creamy pumpkin lasagna, and more.

What is in pumpkin spice?

While we're generally a fan of making our own spice blends, pumpkin spice (also known as pumpkin pie spice) is readily available at most grocery stores. Most pumpkin spice mixtures will call for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.

What can I substitute for brown sugar?

It's worth understanding the different flavors and textures sugar can impart on your baked goods, drinks, and savory dishes. If you're making a recipe that calls for brown sugar, but you don't have any on hand, you can make your own by combining granulated sugar and molasses. For light brown sugar, add a tablespoon of molasses for every cup of granulated, for dark brown sugar, use two tablespoons per cup. If you have light brown sugar and your recipe calls for dark brown sugar, you can add a tablespoon of molasses per cup to darken your sugar. Just pulse it in a food processor until it’s well mixed.


  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Add pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vinegar, water, pumpkin spice, and salt into a medium saucepan and bring to medium heat.

  2. Reduce to a simmer, and remove from heat. Let cool completely

  3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Store in refrigerator.

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