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Red Shiso Shrub Recipe

Use this vibrant and gorgeous shrub as the base for a bubbly drink.
Red Shiso Shrub Recipe
Photo by Heami Lee. 

Makes 5 ½ cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


12 ounces|340 grams red shiso, cleaned and dried thoroughly
1 cup|237 ml rice wine vinegar
8 ounces|227 grams cane or granulated sugar
4 ounces|113 grams honey
2 whole star anise


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar and 4 cups|946 ml water to a boil. Add the shiso leaves and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Be sure to squeeze out all of the liquid from the leaves before discarding them.
  2. Transfer the cooking liquid back to the saucepan along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the sugar and honey have completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the star anise, then transfer the shrub to a Mason jar and cool. Cover and refrigerate. Shrub will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
  3. To use, add gin or vodka and top with soda for a refreshing cocktail. Or simply top with soda water and a citrus garnish for a tangy, herbal, non-alcoholic drink.

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This is part of a special series, 
Indulgence, which explores extravagant living in a time of restraint. It’s also in the September 2021 VICE magazine issue. Subscribe here.