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Carrot shrub daisy cocktail: carrot cocktail

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carrot shrub daisy cocktail with deep shadows on blue background

Carrot shrub daisy cocktail uses a carrot shrub syrup drinking vinegar made from sweet winter baby carrots spiced with cinnamon, pepper berries and rosemary and sweetened with low GI cane sugar, preserved in apple cider vinegar, to flavour and sour a Jerry Thomas (1876: 88) Daisy style cocktail with a difference. The carrot shrub daisy cocktail is made with spiced carrot shrub and a base of coconut palm arrack, a dash of orange bitters, agave syrup and soda water, served over crushed ice, garnished with a whole carrot, orange slices and a rosemary sprig. The carrot shrub daisy cocktail is a low sugar vegetable cocktail that pairs flavours of sweet winter carrots, spice and orange bitters with sweet sour coconut palm arrack. It’s a reinvention of the Daisy that was a new innovation in 1876 when Thomas wrote his Daisy recipe in his Bar-tender’s Guide – with it’s roots in the punch formula this carrot shrub daisy cocktail reintroduces the element of spice and draws further on the history of punch using a key punch making ingredient, coconut palm arrack, for a delicate and flavourful vegetable cocktail.

How to make carrot shrub syrup drinking vinegar
Making a carrot shrub syrup drinking vinegar is easy to do, although it does take a little time to infuse the ingredients with the vinegar. Reserve the carrot tops for another use – these make delicious carrot top pesto. The carrot is grated and added to a food processor or blender and then mixed with the vinegar, cinnamon, pepper berries and rosemary and left for 2 days to infuse. The resulting carrot pulp, spices and vinegar mixture is then double strained through a very fine mesh sieve into a sterilised jar and the low GI sugar is added. The shrub syrup is then kept in the fridge. I have made a small batch for use in cocktails which will make several cocktails – if you intend to make more cocktails simply increase the quantities. The double straining is important as there can be some fibrous sediment in the carrot pulp depending on how finely your food processor or blender blends the carrot. This is a cold infusion fermented style shrub and I have referred to the method provided by Michael Dietsch (2016: 1544-1556) in his book Shrubs where he has a recipe for carrot and ginger shrub and Holly Davis (2017) in her book Ferment. The flavour pairing is my own contribution as is the use of a low GI cane sugar for a lower sugar shrub and cocktail. The carrot shrub syrup is delicious to use in this carrot shrub syrup daisy cocktail, in other cocktails, or as a refreshing drink with fizzy water.

Carrot shrub flavour pairing to enhance the coconut palm arrack base spirit
Shrubs provide delicious flavour bases for cocktails that can be used as a souring agent and to add depth and complexity of flavour including fruits, vegetables, types of vinegars and sweeteners, herbs and spices – I’ve used pineapple and fennel shrub in margaritas and a blood orange and thyme shrub with strawberries in a pickle smash style cocktail. This combination of carrot, cinnamon,  pepper berry and rosemary with apple cider vinegar and low GI cane sugar creates a sweet, fresh, clean carrot flavour that has a spice note from the cinnamon, a little heat from the pepper berries, which are an indigenous Australian spice, and freshness from rosemary. This combination is delicious with coconut palm arrack – a spirit created from the nectar of flowers of coconut palms. It is a slightly sweet and sour spirit with a funky undertone and a boozy kick – traditionally used in punch making. I’ve swapped out the usual orange liqueur for an Australian batch orange bitters – this adds a complexity and brightness and is less sweet than the orange liqueur. Bitters are not a usual daisy ingredient but they really work with this combination of spiced carrot shrub, coconut palm arrack and agave syrup – adding orange and lemon myrtle notes to the drink.

Why make a vegetable cocktail?
Vegetables make great seasonal and flavoursome lower sugar cocktails and create diversity in flavours and very beautiful garnishes. Vegetable cocktails do not necessarily have to be of the savoury kind like a Bloody Mary but in this case of a carrot cocktail using sweet baby winter carrots can have a complex flavour that is both sweet and herbaceous paired with cinnamon and pepper berries for spice and heat and with rosemary for an uplifting fresh aroma. Garnishing with a whole carrot with the carrot tops introduces a lovely aniseed aroma and freshness from the carrot tops themselves. Incidentally, carrot tops make amazing pesto, so do not throw these away but reserve them for other uses.

How to make a Daisy cocktail: with help from Jerry Thomas & Imbibe
This carrot shrub daisy cocktail recipe is inspired by the recipe for an ‘old  school’ Daisy provided in Jerry Thomas 1876 Bar-tender’s Guide as interpreted by David Wondrich (2015: 130-1) in Imbibe.

History  of the Daisy ‘invention’ of the 1870’s – When the 1876 version of Thomas’ (1876: 88) Bar-tender’s Guide was published the Daisy was a new style of drink , he writes in the introduction to the ‘Appendix IX’ where the daisy recipe appears:

“The following additional Recipes include all the latest inventions in Beverages, obtained through the courtesy of some of the most celebrated caterers to the tastes of an appreciative public in our first class bars and wine-rooms…”

Daisy Ingredients – Jerry Thomas’ 1876 Daisy recipe is of the simpler style of Daisy dating from the 1870’s (Wondrich 2015: 130-1; Thomas 1876: 88) and includes gum syrup, orange cordial, lemon juice and a spirit – it could be made with whiskey, brandy, gin or rum – and was topped with Seltzer water.

Method – shake & strain  – Jerry Thomas (1876: 88) writes of the method for preparing the Daisy:

“Fill the glass half full of shaved ice. Shake well and strain into a glass, and fill up with Seltzer water from a syphon.”

Presentation – Wondrich (2015: 131) recommends using a cocktail glass to serve the ‘old school’ Daisy to limit the amount of Seltzer water making it a shorter drink.

How is the carrot shrub daisy cocktail different?
The carrot shrub daisy cocktail is inspired by Jerry Thomas’ recipe for a Daisy as it appeared in his 1876 Bar-tender’s Guide although I here offer a modern seasonal carrot pickle twist on this recipe to create a low sugar vegetable cocktail.

Carrot shrub daisy cocktail ingredients: seasonal flavourful vegetable, low sugar cocktail
I have followed the recipe formula and method for making a Daisy although I’ve swapped out some of the key ingredients in a seasonal flavour pairing experiment that I think is in spirit of innovation and experimentation in Thomas’ (1876: 88) description of the Daisy as the latest ‘invention’ in drinks in 1876.

Agave syrup – The gum syrup has been swapped out for a lower sugar agave syrup for a low sugar cocktail.

Coconut palm arrack – The base spirit I have used is a coconut palm arrack – rather than the more traditional whiskey, brandy, gin or rum. Coconut palm arrack is made from the fermented nectar of the coconut palm flower and has a light sweet sour flavour profile and a little funkiness in a similar manner to rum – it is a traditional punch making ingredient and pairs well with sour and with spice such as lime and nutmeg. Using arrack in this drink calls back to the roots of the daisy recipe in the punch formula: sweet, sour, strong, weak and spice – the arrack being the strong ingredient. In this recipe the shrub syrup allows for the missing spice element to be added back into the cocktail, it also acts as a souring and flavouring agent.

Spiced carrot shrub syrup – In this recipe the coconut palm arrack base is paired with a sweet and sour spiced carrot shrub that is flavoured with cinnamon, pepper berries and rosemary and low GI cane sugar preserved with apple cider vinegar. The shrub adds a sour element as well as complex flavours of the sweet and herbaceous carrots along with spice from cinnamon, heat from pepper berries and freshness from rosemary. The carrot shrub is sweetened with a low GI cane sugar for a lower sugar shrub and cocktail that allows the carrot flavour to shine through.

Orange bitters – The orange cordial is in this carrot shrub daisy cocktail recipe swapped out for Australian batch orange bitters featuring lemon myrtle, adding more complex notes of orange and lemon myrtle rather than straight sweet orange. Swapping the cordial for bitters is not usual for a daisy but it really works with the spiced carrot shrub and means that the cocktail is lower sugar and has a more complex flavour.

Carrot shrub daisy cocktail method: shake & strain
The carrot shrub daisy cocktail is shaken with ice until very cold and well combined and then double strained into a fancy wine glass filled with crushed ice and topped with Seltzer water. The method used is faithful to Thomas’ 1876 description for making a Daisy (Thomas 1876: 88).

Presentation: crushed ice, fancy wine glass, fancy carrot garnish, metal reusable straw
The presentation is closer to that of the later fancier ‘new school’ Daisy cocktails described by Wondrich (2015: 132) in Imbibe, using a glass filled with crushed ice, a straw and fancy garnish – although the fanciest part is the carrot – a vegetable rather than the usual fruit garnish. I’ve opted for an older style fancy wine glass rather than a silver mug to allow the amazing orange colour of the drink to be seen because it’s too good to hide inside a silver mug. The orange colour along with the mountain of crushed ice become part of the sensation of this cocktail – it is refreshing and visually beautiful.

I’ve created a fancy style garnish to show off the carrot and celebrate this as a seasonal vegetable and low sugar cocktail. I’ve used a whole carrot with the top included to add a beautiful visual pop of orange and green and gorgeous anise aroma from the carrot tops. The tops of carrots are edible, having herb like texture and aroma smelling of fresh anise and sweet carrot. The beautiful bright orange carrot shrub daisy cocktail is served over crushed ice in a fancy vintage cut glass wine glass with a reusable metal straw, topped with orange slices and rosemary.

Carrot shrub daisy cocktail: carrot cocktail

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 cocktail, 110mls shrub syrup Cooking Time: 2 days, 40 minutes (Cocktail: 10 minutes; Shrub syrup: 2 days 30 minutes (2 days infusion time, 15 minutes preparation, 15 minutes sterilise jar)


  • Carrot shrub daisy cocktail: 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • ½ shot spiced carrot shrub syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 shots Ceylon coconut palm arrack
  • 4 dashes of orange bitters
  • Soda water or carbonated water to top
  • Ice to shake the drink with, and crushed ice to fill the serving glass
  • Glassware: fancy wine glass
  • Garnish: whole baby carrot with the top, orange slices, rosemary sprig, reusable metal straw
  • Spiced carrot shrub: 226 grams carrots
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pepper berries
  • 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup low GI cane sugar



Carrot shrub daisy cocktail: Prepare your glass by crushing ice in a tea towel with a rolling pin and then filling the glass with crushed ice using an ice spoon


Add agave syrup, spiced carrot shrub syrup, coconut palm arrack and orange bitters to a cocktail shaker tin with ice


Seal the tin and shake well for 10-15 seconds until well combined and very cold


Double strain into prepared fancy wine glass over crushed ice


Decorate the top of the crushed ice with orange slices and a rosemary sprig, garnish with a whole baby carrot with the top on – to attach to the glass make a small diagonal cut in the side of the carrot to slip over the edge of the glass, add a reusable metal straw and enjoy


Spiced carrot shrub: Wash carrots thoroughly, grate whole carrots, reserving the tops for another use: to make carrot top pesto or in salads or stocks


Add the grated carrots to a food processor or blender and blend


Add the vinegar to the carrot mix along with the cinnamon stick, pepper berries and rosemary


Allow to infuse for 2 days – either on the counter top or in the fridge


Meanwhile, sterilise your jar by washing well in hot soapy water and rinsing thoroughly, place jar on cookie sheet in 110 C oven for 15 minutes or until completely dry, boil the lid in boiling water on the stove top for 5 minutes and allow to air dry – see Resources for more information


After 2 days press and double strain the carrot mixture to release the carrot and vinegar syrup, double straining is important as there may be fibrous particles from the carrots


Add the low GI cane sugar and decant into your sterilised jar, keep in the fridge


Daisy recipes & history

Jerry Thomas (1876 revision of 1862 imprint). The Bar-tender’s Guide: or how to mix all kinds of plain and fancy drinks. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York. Available online in EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books library.

David Wondrich (2015). Imbibe. Perigree: New York.

Shrub syrup recipes & resources

Holly Davis (2017). Ferment: A guide to the art of making ancient cultured goods. Murdoch Books: Crows Nest, Sydney.

Michael Dietsch (2016). Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, Second Edition. Countryman Press: New York.

Carrot cocktail recipes

Emma Janzen (2017). Elements: Carrot cocktails. In Imbibe: Liquid Culture.

Shelby Pope (2017). A drink straight from the garden. Carrots: A versatile veggie that will pair with a number of different flavours. In Tales of the Cocktail.

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