Mango Habañero Mint Shrub

March 22, 2017(updated on August 30, 2021)

Today’s guest post comes to us from Erin Urquhart. She’s stopped by to share her recipe for Mango Habañero Mint Shrub. Welcome to Food in Jars, Erin! 

Over the past couple of years I have began to notice that unintentionally many of my preserved goods either include alcohol or pair perfectly with alcohol- a strange coincidence, indeed. I’m beginning to think that I “subconsciously” come up with pickle ingredients with martinis on the mind. By no surprise, I admit that I am a sucker for any type of brined, vinegar-based, or bitter cocktail.

Having only ever read about shrubs on ingredient lists, I was surprised to learn the very intentional alcohol related origin of liquid shrubs. As story goes, shrubs originally gained popularity in the 1680s among English smugglers who were trying to avoid paying import taxes on booze being shipped from Europe. To avoid detection and thus taxation, smugglers would sink barrels full of alcohol off the Atlantic coast to be retrieved at a later time. Upon retrieval, the addition of the shrub fruit flavors were used to mask the taste of alcohol fouled by sea water. Who knew!?

Unless your pirate heritage runs deep, nowadays, shrubs, aka “drinking vinegars” are making a come back in the international cocktail scene. Due to their high concentration of vinegar and sugar, shrubs can be prepared in advance made as a pre-made drink mixture. When Marisa announced the 2017 Food in Jars Mastery Challenge late last year, I found myself beyond excited with anticipation for all the creative and weird cocktail shrubs I planned to make.

Apparently, because my craft shrub confidence isn’t quite up to par to make more wild types of shrubs like a fennel fruit shrub, or a sweet tomato shrub, I decide to play it safe for this month’s challenge. This recipe presents a refreshing yet spicy shrub combination, a Mango Habañero Mint Shrub. To keep the flavors strong and fresh, I opted for the cold-pressed shrub method. Additionally, because I didn’t want to mask any pepper or mint, I chose the more delicate color and flavor profiles of champagne vinegar.

The resulting sweet heat of this mango shrub is pretty phenomenal. I admittedly coughed following first gulp (oops), “wow that’s really strong!!”. Alas, after bottling and letting it settle in the fridge for a couple days the taste is now just right, and it’ll only get better. For a stronger mint flavor, I recommend upping your fresh mint amount.

For a refreshing drink serve this Mango Habañero Mint Shrub with ice cold water/seltzer, or get spicy and serve it with the Tequila Shrub Cocktail listed below. Also, make sure you reserve that mango fruit pulp for an awesome topping for your Saturday morning french toast, or perhaps use it in a homemade spicy mango cornbread. Yum!

Scientist by day, pickler by night, Erin Urquhart (from Putting Up with Erin) has always had a deep affinity for pickles. She’s the type of person who is super disappointed if pickles aren’t included in every holiday spread. A regular contributor of pickle reviews to her local Durham, NC newspaper, she even drives a car with “Pickle” vanity license plates.

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Mango Habañero Mint Shrub

Servings: 6 cups


  • 4 1/2 cups chopped mango
  • 3 habanero peppers de-seeded and finely diced
  • 4-6 tablespoons minced mint leave
  • 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups champagne vinegar


  • In a medium size bowl combine prepared mango, habanero peppers, and fresh mint.
  • Stir in sugar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 2-4 days stirring every 12 hours. Optionally use can quickly chop up solids with an immersion blender.
  • When the juice exudes from fruit and starts to combine with sugar to form a syrup remove from fridge.
  • Strain syrup from fruit, then combine syrup with champagne vinegar.
  • Serve shrub immediately, or store in fridge for a week or longer to meld and mellow flavors.


To make the Tequila Shrub Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 1/2 ounce Mango Habañero Mint Shrub
1/2 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce club soda
Add tequila, shrub, and St. Germain to cocktail shaker.
Fill shaker 2/3 full with ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost.
Strain into a cocktail glass with ice, top with club soda, garnish with fresh mango and fresh mint sprig.

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