Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub

Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub

This citrus-based shrub, in which lemon and grapefruit peels are muddled with sugar, black peppercorns, thyme, cloves and bay leaves before being combined with citrus juice, acts as a lightly spiced base for any drink — whether you’re adding alcohol or not. Use it in a No-ABV French 75 or simply pour an ounce or so over ice and top with sparkling water or tonic. Or try it in a low-A.B.V. French 75, or in lieu of simple syrup in a classic French 75.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Place the citrus peels in a medium bowl or a large jar. Add the sugar, peppercorns, salt, thyme, cloves and bay leaves.
  2. Step 2

    Use a muddler or the end of a rolling pin to muddle the mixture together, working the sugar mixture into the peels until the peels begin to express their oils and start to turn slightly translucent. Set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. Much of the sugar should be dissolved, and the citrus peels will be mostly translucent.
  3. Step 3

    Juice the reserved lemons and grapefruit. (You should have about 1¼ cups juice.) Add the juice to the mixture and stir (or cover and shake the jar) until the sugar and salt dissolve. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids and transfer to an airtight container. The shrub can be stored, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month.