Watermelon Shrugroni

20190407_210957You may ask yourself, what is a shrugroni? Well obviously, it’s a Negroni made with a shrub. In this case a watermelon shrub. I’ve been seeing shrubs all over the menus of hip cocktail bars around town; they always seem so mysterious. They often have fruit flavors like blackberry or rhubarb and apparently are not woody plants the way I usually think of shrubs, but what are they?? I bought a cookbook to find out – Michael Dietsch’s Shrubs: An old-fashioned drink for modern times. It turns out, shrubs are just vinegar and fruit (or vegetables). Meaning if you can juice it, you can probably shrub it. Which opens a whole world of cocktail possibilities…

The details:

Jump to recipe

Thought process:

This recipe is a very strict ADAPT from Dietsch’s book. I used his shrub recipe with the vinegars I had on hand, then used that shrub in his Negroni recipe. Hardly creative, but I had never made a shrub nor used one in a cocktail so I wanted to start on strong footing. I chose watermelon because it’s what I could pick up at Haymarket (the produce market in my neighborhood, more details on that in a coming post). I will admit, I’ve been trying to use this shrub in other cocktails, but it always seems weird. I think I’m still trying to figure out how to fit shrubs in with the more usual cocktail ingredients. I’ll keep trying and report back on my progress!

Below, the recipe:

Watermelon Shrugroni
Makes 1 drink

Watermelon-Lime Shrub:

  • 1.5 c cubed watermelon
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. place watermelon, lime zest, and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine
  2. cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day
  3. strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl
  4. pour vinegar over solids in strainer to wash off sugar. Repeat washing solids until all sugar dissolved into the liquids in the bowl. Discard the solids.
  5. Pour shrub into a mason jar, close lid and shake to dissolve. Store in refrigerator.


  • 1/2 oz watermelon-lime shrub
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • rosemary sprig
  1. Stir together everything except the rosemary in a shaker, then add a bunch of ice and shake for 20 seconds
  2. Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with the rosemary sprig


4/5 stars. 4 stars
This was a nice twist on a Negroni! I didn’t taste the watermelon too much, but the drink overall seemed very balanced, and not so Campari-heavy like some Negronis. One potential problem is that each drink uses so little shrub! I guess I’ll have to come up with lots more cocktail recipes.

3 thoughts on “Watermelon Shrugroni

  1. I’m so excited to try this! Lucky thing tomorrow is Friday. Any cocktail suggestions for a blueberry shrub? (that’s the only fruit we have on hand in bulk at the moment- and frozen.)


    1. risa

      I think if you used similar proportions of fruit and vinegar, you could definitely make a blueberry shrub, as long as you grind up the berries first. Then you could go ahead and swap it into this drink. Or you could try something with vodka. Maybe a vodka lemonade with blueberry shrub?


  2. I am so excited to try this that words escape me. Lucky thing tomorrow is Friday!
    Any cocktail suggestions for a strawberry or blueberry shrub? Those are the (frozen) berries I have on hand…


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