By Crystal Sykes
Updated September 30, 2015
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Shrubs: If you haven’t heard of them, your cocktail game is in for a sweet-and-sour treat.

This way of preserving fruit in vinegar has been around for hundreds of years. In the last few years, history has come to life in cocktail bars around the country, with shrubs being put to use in a range of drinks. But don’t think the only way to experience the sweet-tart magic of a shrub is at your closest, hippest bar. The process is so easy you can do it yourself—or, simpler still, buy some at your local spirit shop.

Shrubs are great anytime of the year but there’s something about the vinegary flavor that works well with the quintessential fall produce. Grab your pears, plums, and pumpkins and get to work!

1. Pear Shrub Cocktail with Thyme + Prosecco


Sometimes, a simple drink is the best drink. The pear shrub in this recipe requires just three ingredients, giving a nice, sweet, caramel-like touch to a bottle of prosecco. A thyme-infused simple syrup adds an herbal and sweet flavor that complements the tartness of the shrub. Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of bubbly?

2. Spiced Apple Pie Soda


Nothing says autumn like a spiced apple pie and now you can have some both on your plate and in your glass. Using ingredients like applesauce, cinnamon and ginger, this shrub tastes like America’s favorite dessert. After your shrub is ready, a healthy dose of rum and some soda water makes this a treat that you’ll want every day of fall.

3. Plum Shrub Bourbon Cocktail


While plums are on the way out during early fall, don’t let autumn slip past without trying this autumn-centric cocktail. Combining plum shrub, dry Sherry and a healthy dose of bourbon, this cocktail is perfect for watching the leaves fall outside your favorite window.

4. Bourbon Balsamic Cherry Shrub Cocktail


White and apple cider are not the only type of vinegars that can be used to make shrubs. Balsamic vinegar adds a richness that works with many types of fruit. Sweet cherries, vanilla, sugar and honey join this dark red vinegar for a deep-tasting shrub that works well with everyone’s favorite brown spirit: bourbon. To fizz it up, lemon-lime soda adds a citrus note to the cocktail. Another round, please.

5. Spiced Pumpkin Shrub


When it comes to fall, pumpkin is king. We have them in our pies, we have them on our doorsteps, we pop the seeds in our mouths and now we can have them in our drinks. The pumpkin shrub in this cocktail is combined with vodka, ginger ale and maple syrup for a flavor that is deliciously autumnal. Your new Halloween cocktail is waiting for you—no trick.