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Strawberry fiz: pickle mocktail & cocktail

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  • strawberry fiz with strawberry garnish
  • making strawberry shrub syrup for strawberry fiz
  • topping strawberry fiz with soda water
  • strawberries for strawberry fiz
  • strawberry fiz with bubbles
  • pink pepper for strawberry fiz
strawberry fiz with strawberry garnish

Strawberry fiz is a refreshing Sour mocktail and cocktail using a strawberry shrub with pink pepper, cinnamon and ginger, caramelised white balsamic and coconut vinegar, and low GI raw sugar. The shrub syrup is made by cold process maceration and thus retains the fermented goodness of the mother of the vinegar, it is also low GI using a low GI cane sugar. For a mocktail, non-alcoholic distilled spirit is used, for a cocktail, London Dry Gin. Both mocktail and cocktail are topped with soda water and sweetened with honey syrup. The Fiz is a lengthened Sour that is served without ice but that is shaken with ice and strained into a fresh glass which is then topped with seltzer. This strawberry fiz uses a shrub syrup to add depth and complexity of flavour with fresh summer strawberries and spice from pink pepper, ginger, and cinnamon and a little honey for sweetness and extra fizz. The strawberry fiz  is a delicious refreshing Summer Sour non-alcoholic cocktail and gin cocktail garnished with a single strawberry.

What is a Fiz, Fizz, Gin Fiz, Gin Fizz?

A Gin Fiz, also known as a Gin Fizz, appears in the revised 1876 version of Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tender’s Guide. Thomas (1876: 90) writes of the Gin Fiz:

“The same as the Whiskey Fiz, substituting gin for whiskey.”

Jerry Thomas (1876 revision of 1862 imprint: 90). The Bar-tender’s Guide: or how to mix all kinds of plain and fancy drinks. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York.

The Fiz formula is given in the root Whiskey Fiz (Thomas 1876: 90) recipe which calls for use of a small bar glass, gum syrup, lemon juice, whiskey, to be shaken with ice and topped with Seltzer water. The Gin Fiz uses the same formula with Gin rather than Whiskey.

How to make & drink a Fiz? Shake & Strain, top with Seltzer

Tomas (1876: 90) writes that the Fiz is made by shaking with ice and straining, then topping with Seltzer water:

“Fill the glass half full of shaved ice, shake up well and strain into a glass. Fill up the glass with Seltzer water from a syphon and drink without hesitation.”

Jerry Thomas (1876 revision of 1862 imprint: 90). The Bar-tender’s Guide: or how to mix all kinds of plain and fancy drinks. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York.

How to prepare & drink a Fiz

David Wondrich in Imbibe (2015: 134-5) helpfully advises that the Fiz is designed as a refreshing drink to be enjoyed straight away without ice hence Thomas’ (1876: 90) recommendation to ‘drink without hesitation’. David Wondrich (2015: 134-5) in Imbibe indicates that due to the absence of ice, the Fiz is best served in a glass ‘chilled in advance’, he elaborates:

“A Fizz is meant to be drunk off quickly, like a Cocktail, not lingered over like a Collins.”

David Wondrich (2015: 134-5). Imbibe. Perigree: New York.

Variations on the Fiz

The Fiz could also be made in the same manner with Brandy and Santa Cruz Rum. For more on the history and many variations on the Fiz see my post on Pineapple Fiz. One notable variation relevant here is the ‘Crushed Strawberry Fizz’ circa 1880 which David Wondrich (2015: 134-5) in Imbibe details called for the addition of 2-3 muddled strawberries and extra gum syrup.

How is the strawberry fiz different?

The strawberry fiz offers a seasonal strawberry pickle twist on Thomas’ vintage Fiz recipe where the drink relies for complex flavour on a shrub syrup infused with fresh in season strawberries, flavoured with pink pepper, cinnamon and ginger, sweetened with low GI cane sugar and preserved with caramelised white balsamic and coconut vinegar. The shrub offers bright strawberry and spice which is paired with either a non-alcoholic distilled spirit featuring pepper berries or a London Dry Gin, sweetened with a little honey and topped with soda water. The strawberry fiz is garnished with a single strawberry for a celebration of summer strawberries. The mocktail tastes just as good as the cocktail and follows the same vintage formula using a non-alcoholic distilled spirit in place of gin. The strawberry fiz is an inclusive recipe that challenges us to drink responsibly, be sober curious and to find flavour as the leading edge in creating new drinks.

Strawberry shrub syrup

The strawberry fiz swaps out fresh lemon juice for a spiced strawberry shrub syrup. Strawberry shrub syrup adds depth and complexity of flavour to the mocktail and cocktail fiz – with spices including pink pepper, cinnamon and ginger paired with fresh in season strawberries, low GI sugar and caramelised white balsamic along with coconut vinegars. Pink pepper, cinnamon and ginger add spice, warmth, and heat along with sweetness to the shrub syrup. The caramelised white balsamic vinegar is amazing with strawberries adding a burst of round rich sweetness and sourness that is complemented by the lightness of the coconut vinegar.

Method: short cold maceration

The method used to make the strawberry shrub is a process of short cold maceration of strawberries with sugar and spices which allows for formation of a thick flavoursome spiced strawberry syrup. Cold process maceration is a method recommended by Michael Dietsch (201) in his amazing book Shrubs. I recommend a short maceration of 2 hours for strawberries is beneficial, as a longer maceration time results in a larger amount of water and less flavour being removed from the fruit – after experimenting and testing this recipe 2 hours is the optimum time to macerate strawberries. The resulting syrup is strained using a fine mesh sieve and measured. Equal parts of vinegar are added to the strawberry syrup to preserve it. The shrub is then decanted into a sterilised jar and stored in the fridge.

Advantages of using a shrub syrup: healthy syrup with intense flavour, ease of use

This shorter cold process also allows for retention of the beneficial properties of the mother of the vinegar which would be removed when using a heat process. Use of a low GI raw sugar offers a lower GI product for a lower sugar mocktail and cocktail.

Using fresh in season strawberries preserved at their peak freshness in a shrub syrup adds depth and complexity of flavour and allows ease of mixing drinks with a ready prepared product in comparison to muddling fresh fruit as in the Crushed Strawberry Fizz.

Honey syrup

Gum syrup is swapped out for 3:1 honey syrup made by adding honey and warm water – 2 tablespoons honey to 1 tablespoon warm water – to a clean glass jar which is gently warmed in a water bath and stirred to dissolve the honey and thus make it easier to mix with cold ingredients. For more on how to make honey syrups see my post on lemon myrtle honey syrup.

Mocktail or Non-alcoholic Cocktail -London Dry Non-alcoholic distilled spirit

For the mocktail strawberry fiz I have used a non-alcoholic distilled spirit – here I used Lyre’s Dry London Spirit – this adds a complex fresh juniper flavour along with a delicious heat from Australian pepper berries that pairs wonderfully with strawberries. Due to the complexity of this product and the shrub syrup with fresh in season strawberries and spices this strawberry fiz mocktail is every bit as good as the cocktail and it smells and looks just as good too.

Gin Cocktail – London Dry Gin

The strawberry shrub is paired with a London Dry Gin, Four Pillars is used in this strawberry fiz recipe for a big hit of fresh juniper along with citrus, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, lemon myrtle and pepper berry. As mentioned above the mocktail version of this drink is amazing and the cocktail equally is delicious with complex flavours from gin that really shine in what is a simple lengthened Sour that allows the sweetness and strawberries to marry wonderfully with juniper, citrus and spice elements in the Gin.

Styling & photographing the strawberry fiz

The strawberry fiz mocktail and cocktail are garnished with a single strawberry to celebrate summer seasonal strawberries. The single strawberry echoes and accentuates the pale pink colour of this drink from the strawberry shrub syrup – the strawberry offers a delicious aroma of fresh strawberry. The form of the red and green strawberry became the focal point of these photographs along with the pale pink bubbles in the fiz – the delicacy of which stand out against a grey textured backdrop. Presentation of the mocktail and cocktail are the same – although the flavours of the base spirits are slightly different, they share enough spice to marry with the sweetness of the strawberries and mesh with the spices already present in the complex strawberry shrub preparation – notably the heat of Australian pepper berries.

I wanted to make a mocktail that was as good as, if not better than a cocktail – a mocktail that was more than a sweet drink but that had complexity and character. Not just a cocktail alternative but a delicious standalone drink that I would want to try if it were on a menu. The strawberry fiz is a drink for the sober curious and cocktail lovers alike. The strawberry fiz offers a delicious sour non-alcoholic cocktail and a gin cocktail, that both create an extraordinary experience that takes us out of the everyday to savour a moment of sweet summer pickled spiced strawberries.

Strawberry fiz: pickle mocktail & cocktail

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 small batch strawberry shrub syrup (120mls); 1 small batch 3:1 honey syrup; 1 strawberry fiz mocktail & cocktail Cooking Time: strawberry shrub syrup: 2 ½ hours (15 minutes preparation, 15 minutes sterilise jar, 2 hours maceration); 3:1 honey syrup: 5 minutes; strawberry fiz mocktail & cocktail: 5 minutes


  • Strawberry shrub syrup: 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 knob grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pink pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon caramelised white balsamic vinegar
  • 45mls coconut vinegar
  • Honey syrup 3:1: 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Strawberry fiz mocktail & cocktail: ¼ shot honey syrup
  • ½ shot strawberry shrub syrup
  • For a mocktail or non-alcoholic cocktail: 2 shots London Dry non-alcoholic distilled spirit, Lyres used here
  • For a gin cocktail: 2 shots London Dry Gin, Four Pillars used here
  • Soda water, to top
  • Glassware: highball, tall glass
  • Garnish: Single strawberry



Strawberry shrub syrup: Wash and hull strawberries and slice thinly


Add to a non-reactive container along with sugar and spices


Allow to macerate in the fridge for up to 2 hours


Meanwhile, sterilise your jar, wash in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly, place jar on cookie sheet and warm in 110 C oven for 15 minutes or until completely dry, boil lid in small saucepan on stove top for 5 minutes, allow to air dry – for more information see Resources


Strain, using a fine metal strainer


Measure syrup yield ( my syrup yield was 60mls, note your syrup yield)


Add the same amount of vinegar – 60mls – in total – 15mls caramelised white balsamic and 45mls coconut vinegar (adjust as required to have 1:1 syrup to vinegar)


Pour over strawberries in sieve to dislodge any stuck sugar particles


Decant into a sterilised glass jar and store in the refrigerator


Honey syrup 3:1: Add honey and warm water to a clean glass jar, gently warm by placing in pot of hot water, stir to combine, allow to cool, store in the fridge, use within 1 week


Strawberry fiz mocktail & cocktail: Place a highball or narrow mouthed tall glass in the freezer to chill


Add honey syrup and strawberry shrub to a cocktail shaker


For a mocktail, or non-alcoholic cocktail: add non-alcoholic London Dry spirit


For a gin cocktail: add London Dry Gin


Add ice to your cocktail shaker


Seal tins and shake for 30 seconds


Strain into prepared chilled glass


Garnish with a single strawberry – to add the strawberry garnish make a cut from the base to the stem without slicing all the way through and use this cut to sit the strawberry on the edge of the glass


Shrub syrups

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

Cocktail Manuals

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.

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