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Pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail: using coconut vinegar, spices, tea

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  • pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail with pineapple shadow framing glass
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pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail with pineapple and shadow in background

Pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail uses the pairing of pineapple and fennel, star anise and matcha tea preserved with sugar and coconut vinegar in a shrub syrup drinking vinegar to explore the sweet sour balance of this sour pickle cocktail and adds to the tequila base by drawing out notes of grassiness and sweet vanilla. This margarita uses Casamigos tequila as the base spirit which has a gorgeous soft grassy sweetness.

Pineapple flavour pairings and coconut vinegar as a souring agent

The use of a shrub syrup with coconut vinegar offers the possibility of increasing the complexity and depth of flavour in this pickle cocktail where the vinegar acts as a souring agent and a flavouring intensifier that goes well beyond simple fruit juices. Pineapple and fennel are combined with low GI cane sugar and coconut vinegar along with a complex mix of spices that really make the sweet tartness and fresh anise zest of the pineapple and fennel sing: star anise, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and matcha tea. Pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail features a matcha salt rim and a garnish of frozen pineapple with a fennel frond adding a pop of complementary colours and  flavours and a lovely sweet and fresh aroma to the finished drink.

Tea as a cocktail ingredient: Punch and spices

The idea of adding tea to a syrup for cocktails came from reading David Wondrich’s (2010) Punch where old fashioned punch recipes in which tea was used as an additional spicing agent to flavour the punch and to dilute the strength of the drink through the water used to make up the tea. This cocktail then plays not only with sweet and sour but with spice treading into punch territory while still having one foot firmly planted in the sour category due to the use of the coconut vinegar.

Advance preparation: shrub syrup as a slow food that’s worth the wait

Making the pineapple fennel shrub syrup does take time as the ingredients need to macerate overnight to produce the thick syrup that is mixed with the vinegar – it is easy to do and once prepared can be used not only in this cocktail but as a non-alcoholic drink with fizzy water and as a flavouring in other cocktails or dishes.

Simple and easy to make: equal parts cocktail recipe with a hint of agave syrup

The margarita cocktail itself is simple and easy to prepare being equal parts of shrub and tequila with a bar spoon of agave syrup for silkiness and sweetness. The pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail can be prepared ahead of time as a batch prepared drink if necessary, so is great for entertaining.

Pineapple fennel shrub margarita cocktail

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 shot tequila
  • 1 shot pineapple fennel shrub syrup
  • 1 bar spoon agave syrup
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons high quality salt and ¼ teaspoon matcha tea combined for the salt rim
  • 1 chunk frozen pineapple and 1 fennel frond to garnish



Prepare the matcha salt by combining matcha tea and salt on a plate – use the back of a teaspoon to remove any lumps from the matcha


Prepare the glass by dipping a basting brush in shrub syrup and carefully painting the outside rim of the glass


Press the glass into the salt mix until well coated, gently shake to remove any excess salt, wipe inside rim with a clean cloth to remove any excess salt


Add tequila and shrub syrup to a cocktail tin along with agave syrup and a handful of ice


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


Carefully pour and strain the drink into the prepared glass


Garnish with a triangular wedge of pineapple with a small cut in the base to hold it in place and a fennel frond resting on the rim of the glass




Punch recipes using tea

David Wondrich (2007). David Wondrich’s Rum Punch. In Saveur.

David Wondrich (accessed 2019). Tea Punch Turenne. In Food & Wine.

Punch history and recipes

David Wondrich (2010). Punch. Perigree: New York.

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    Fennel flower silver sour | Peck of Pickles
    October 3, 2020 at 2:24 am

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