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banner image showing how to make a grapefruit shrub with vanilla and pink peppercorn showing grapefruit rind with pink peppercorns being strained and the finished juice in a carafe

How to Make Grapefruit Shrub with Vanilla and Pink Peppercorn

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Cheers To Your Health: A Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub Recipe

The new year brings citrus season and healthy ambitions, two things that compliment each other well. Healthy choices should not have to be bland and boring, especially in dreary winter weather. Crafted to upgrade your health-conscious journey, perhaps even during “dry January,” we created a grapefruit shrub to brighten your winter days. Our recipe below explains how to make a grapefruit shrub with vanilla and pink peppercorn. It marries both the fresh tanginess of grapefruit with the comforting notes of vanilla and the subtle warmth of pink peppercorns. You can utilize this elixir for a variety of other culinary adventures as well.

What is a Shrub?

A shrub, in the context of beverages, is a type of syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar, usually in a 1:1:1 ratio. You craft a shrub through a process of macerating fruit with sugar, allowing the mixture to infuse, and then adding vinegar to create a tangy and sweet syrup. Once the shrub is ready, you can mix the syrup with water, sparkling water, or used as a cocktail/mockingtail ingredient.

According to Seedlip, the history of the shrub started as a method of preserving fruit. Today both mixologists and health conscious consumers enjoy the wide variety of flavors that shurb can provide a beverage.

Shrubs can be a way to create interesting flavor combinations. Some further ideas to consider for future shrub adventures could be, Strawberry Thai Basil Lime, Pea and Mint, Cherry Cinnamon Vanilla, Peach and Ginger, Blueberry Lavender, or Raspberry Rose Hibiscus. Endless possibilities!

Seasonal & Nutritional Fusion of Flavors

Combining grapefruit, vanilla and pink peppercorn with the mellow sweetness of turbinado sugar, make this shrub a nutritional powerhouse. Our grapefruit shrub has a unique flavor profile that’s as healthful as it is delicious.

Shrub Ingredient: Winter Citrus Grapefruit

Grapefruits are at their prime during winter, offering a punch of vitamin C, antioxidants, and refreshing taste. The reason citrus fruits ripen during the winter months is attributed to their unique biological processes and the conditions required for ripening. Citrus fruits take several months to mature after flowering, and this ripening process occurs gradually. The cooler temperatures and reduced sunlight exposure during winter slow down the ripening process, allowing the fruits to stay on the tree longer, thus developing their full flavor and sweetness before being harvested in the winter months. Their skins are essentially little jackets that protect the fruit inside!

Shrub Ingredient: Vanilla

A vanilla bean is the fruit of the tropical orchid species Vanilla planifolia. It is a long, thin, dark brown pod filled with thousands of tiny seeds. These beans are prized for their complex and luxurious flavor profile, which includes sweet, floral, and creamy notes.

Vanilla additionally offers several potential health benefits:

  1. Antioxidant Content: Vanilla beans contain antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, potentially reducing cell damage and supporting overall health.
  2. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Some studies suggest that vanilla may also have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially aiding in reducing inflammation in the body.
  3. Mood Enhancement: The scent of vanilla is believed to have a calming effect on the mind, potentially reducing stress and anxiety levels.
  4. Digestive Support: Vanilla has been traditionally used to soothe upset stomachs and aid digestion due to its potential mild antispasmodic properties.

Shrub Ingredient: Pink Peppercorns

Pink peppercorns are not true peppercorns but rather dried berries from the Brazilian pepper tree. They have a mildly spicy, fruity flavor and offer several health benefits:

  1. Antioxidant Properties: Pink peppercorns contain antioxidants like vitamin C, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body.
  2. Digestive Support: They may aid digestion and alleviate digestive discomfort due to their natural compounds that support gastrointestinal health.
  3. Anti-microbial Properties: Some studies suggest that compounds in pink peppercorns may possess antimicrobial properties, potentially aiding in fighting off certain bacteria and fungi.
  4. Rich in Vitamin B6: These berries contain vitamin B6, which is essential for various bodily functions, including metabolism and the production of neurotransmitters.
  5. Possible Anti-inflammatory Effects: Pink peppercorns may have anti-inflammatory properties that could contribute to reducing inflammation and related health issues.

It’s important to note that while pink peppercorns offer potential health benefits, individuals with specific allergies, especially to tree nuts or cashews, should consume them cautiously, as they belong to the same botanical family and could trigger allergic reactions in some cases.

Shrub Ingredient: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It’s produced through a two-step fermentation process. First, apples are crushed or juiced and combined with yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives vinegar its strong smell and sour taste.

Some Health Attributes of Apple Cider Vinegar:

  1. May Aid Digestion: ACV could potentially support digestion by increasing stomach acid production, which may help break down food more efficiently.
  2. Blood Sugar Regulation: Some studies suggest that ACV may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels after meals.
  3. Potential Heart Health Benefits: Some research indicates that ACV may contribute to heart health by helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Crafting the Perfect Shrub

Grapefruit Shrub is rather easy to prepare, allowing you to reap its benefits in no time.

How to Make a Grapefruit Shrub

First you muddle all of the ingredients except the vinegar together to incorporate.

photo of two whole grapefruits peeled next to a pyrex measuring cup containing the long peels
top down photo of girl muddling grapefruit peel with turbinado sugar, pink peppercorns and vanilla powder

Next the ingredients infuse together for 6-12 hours, allowing the flavors to meld.

top down photo of liquified muddling solution with turbinado, grapefruit peels, vanilla powder and pink peppercorns in a glass measuring cup next to a glass bowl full of grapefruit segments

Finally, add the apple cider vinegar, strain and the shrub is ready for use after a few days. With time the flavor subsequently mellows.

Shurb making is both a simple and rewarding process. However, you will have to practice patience for a few days while your mixture does it’s magic before it is ready for consumption.

Serving Suggestions for a Healthier You

Use this vibrant elixir to elevate your hydration game by mixing it with sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie beverage. Alternatively, add a twist to your cocktails/mocktails and use it as a flavor bomb combined with other ingredients/spirits.

Specifically, below are some ideas in how to use a grapefruit shrub:

Non-Alcoholic Mocktail: Sparkling Citrus Spritz


  • 1-2 tablespoons Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh grapefruit slices or thyme sprigs (for garnish)


  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub.
  3. Top off with sparkling water.
  4. Gently stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit or a sprig of thyme for an aromatic touch.

Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub Vinaigrette


  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot or garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl or jar, combine the Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub and Dijon mustard.
  2. Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.
  3. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and whisk until well combined.
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Adjust the flavors as needed, adding more shrub for sweetness or acidity if desired.

Grapefruit Shrub Vinaigrette Serving Suggestions

  • Drizzle over a mixed green salad with citrus segments, avocado, and toasted nuts for a refreshing twist.
  • Also good as a dressing for roast beet salad, a chickpea and quiona salad, a cold seafood salad or even a classic chopped salad with grilled chicken.
  • Use as a marinade for grilled chicken or seafood ceviche to add a zesty and aromatic flavor.
  • Pair with roasted vegetables like asparagus or beets for a vibrant and tangy enhancement.

Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub, a Plethora of Healthy Possibilities

Whether you’re seeking a dry January or simply embracing a healthier more interesting lifestyle, our Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub is here to support your journey. Craft it, savor it, and experience the delicious synergy of health and flavor, all in one tantalizing bottle.

Let the Grapefruit Shrub be your flavorful companion on your journey towards health and wellness this January and beyond. Cheers to a vibrant, healthful start to the new year!

photo of a freshly poured drink bubbling with vanilla pink peppercorn grapefruit shrub topped with sparkling water and a segment of grapefruit

Vanilla-Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Shrub with Turbinado Sugar

This vibrant Grapefruit Shrub combines the bright tanginess of grapefruit with the softness of vanilla, and the subtle warmth of pink peppercorns. A delightful and versatile concoction perfect for mixing refreshing beverages or enhancing cocktails/mocktails. You could even use this for vinaigrette, marinades/ceviches.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: citrus, mocktails
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Infusion Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 10 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 35kcal
Author: juiceofsevenlemons
Cost: $8.50



  • 2-3 medium-sized grapefruits 2-3 peeled and fruit reserved (to yield approximately 1 ¼ cups juice)
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pink peppercorns crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar


  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the grapefruit into large strips. Cut and segment the grapefruits to remove the pith and set them in a separate bowl. Reserve the leftover grapefruit carcasses for juicing later.
  • Place the peel, turbinado sugar, crushed pink peppercorns, sea salt, and vanilla powder in a large measuring cup/bowl.
  • Use a muddler or a wooden spoon to muddle the mixture together. Work the sugar mixture into the grapefruit peel until they start to release their oils and become slightly translucent. Add a few of the grapefruit segments (around a half cup) and muddle them as well.
  • Squeeze the grapefruit 'carcasses' juice into the sugar mixture. Continue to muddle until the sugar dissolves more.
  • Stir in the rest of the grapefruit segments.
  • Set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. During this time, the sugar should dissolve, and the grapefruit peel will become mostly translucent.
  • After resting, add add the apple cider vinegar to the mixture in an jar.
  • Stir the mixture well or cover and shake the jar until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Transfer the strained liquid to an airtight container and let it meld for at least 2 days.
  • Store the Grapefruit Shrub in the refrigerator for a few months and up to 1 year. The acidity from the vinegar and the sugar content will preserve the syrup, keeping it tasting bright and fresh over an extended period.


Infusion Mellowing: Over time, the flavors in this shrub will mellow and meld, enhancing the complexity of the mixture. For optimal taste, allow the mixture to infuse for at least 24-48 hours before straining and storing. The longer it sits refrigerated, the more the flavors harmonize, reaching their peak after a week or two.
Customization: Feel free to adjust the sweetness or acidity to your preference. If desired, you can add a bit more sugar for a sweeter shrub or increase the vinegar for a tangier profile.
Storage: Store the strained Grapefruit Shrub in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It keeps well for up to a year, thanks to the preserving properties of the vinegar.
Serving Size/Usage: Use this Grapefruit Shrub as a mixer for refreshing beverages by combining 1-2 tablespoons with sparkling water, or incorporate it into cocktails/mocktails for a unique and flavorful twist. Experiment with different drink combinations to find your favorite! This shrub can also be used in vinaigrette recipes or meat marinades.
Herbal Option: Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme into your muddling process to add an herbal note to your shrub.
Cost Estimate per Serving: ~ $0.50 per serving


Serving: 14g | Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 12mg

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