Spring In A Cup

Rhubarb-Wild Rose Shrub

By Raeanne O’Meara

I first started experimenting with shrubs several years ago, when I was looking for different ways to use wild berries that we had harvested. A shrub, in this context, is not referring to a plant – a drinking shrub is combination of fruit/berry/plant, sugar and vinegar. Non-alcoholic, shrubs are often used to add flavour in mocktails; at home, I like to mix them with sparkling water over a big glass of ice. They are an incredibly refreshing mix of sweet and acidic, and the perfect treat after a hot summer day. Bonus part? There are many different combinations to try, depending on what is in season.


This rhubarb-wild rose shrub is spring in a beverage – many people have rhubarb growing in their gardens (or know someone that is looking to get rid of a few stalks) and wild rose is easy to forage for. When collecting wild rose petals, please keep in mind a few foraging basics: be mindful of collecting from plants that are away from potential pollutants, don’t strip away all the petals from each flower/don’t over-pick an individual plant and only take what you will use.



For myself, I find the floral taste of rose to be absolutely delicious, but it can be a bit overpowering – so experiment with the amount of rose petals you wish to add to the shrub.




2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks

Rose petals (I use anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup)

1 cup cane sugar (can substitute with white sugar if desired)

1 cup apple cider vinegar


To make rhubarb-wild rose shrub, place chopped rhubarb and fresh rose petals into a glass container or a large, heavy-duty Ziploc bag. Add in the cane sugar and stir to cover all the fruit and rose petals. Cover bowl or seal the bag and place into the fridge. Over the course of several days, the sugar will pull juice from the plant material. Mix the contents daily.

After three or four days, strain rhubarb and rose petals from the liquid. Add the vinegar to the rhubarb-rose syrup. It can be used immediately or stored in the fridge to let the flavours develop. Shrubs can last a long time in the fridge, but I don’t think they will make it that long before they are consumed as they are delicious!