Amid all the merriment and good cheer of the holidays is the Santa-hat-wearing elephant-in-the-room: the stress. We all feel it, and while it can’t be avoided, it can be managed. How, you ask? A good, strong cocktail that can slap the Scrooge out of anyone.

Like any good bar buddy, the Cranberry Rosemary Shrub has a story. This winter cocktail’s main ingredient – the shrub – dates back to 17th century England. Before refrigeration (warm Pinot?!), vinegar was poured over berries and other fruits to preserve them during the off-season. The mixture was left to infuse for several days, then strained. What was left was made into a sweet-and-sour soft drink or, better yet, used as a mixer for alcoholic cocktails (we totally would have been friends with those people).

For this holiday-ready drink, we enlisted the help of Shem Blum, New York Ambassador for Reyka Vodka (follow him on Instagram and Twitter). Whip it up then whip it out when the season starts setting your tree on fire.


Start by making the cranberry rosemary shrub: 

Use equal parts fresh cranberries and superfine granulated sugar.

Place berries in a large jar or container. Gently mash them with a potato masher to release their juices. Continue to mash as you slowly add the sugar, making sure they are thoroughly combined.

Let sit for 24-48 hours at room temperature. If mixture remains dry, add a small amount of pure cranberry juice – not cocktail.

Strain mixture through a colander into a clean mason jar. Add equal parts apple or red-wine vinegar and rosemary sprigs.

Once refrigerated, mixture should keep indefinitely.

Keep scrolling for cranberry rosemary shrub cocktail recipe.


Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail

2 parts vodka
1 part cranberry rosemary shrub*

Build in a Collins glass over ice. Top with soda and gently stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig and fresh cranberries.


Lift glass to mouth. Drink. Repeat. SKØL!


All photography by Real Genevieve East Coast photographer, Myrna Suarez.