Inside Columbia


Nothing to Shrub At

By Inside Columbia
Better Late Than Never
Melanie Lising
Photo by L.G. Patterson

I crafted this cocktail to be the perfect balance of sweet, tart and warm as a perfect intro-to-fall drink. It combines the sweetness of Demerara syrup countered by the tart bite of muddled lemon and blackberries and our house-made basil-pear shrub, while our choice bourbon warms the soul.

The name is half a tribute to another popular bourbon-based cocktail I created for Sycamore called “It’s never too early” as well as the fact that I am a procrastinator, oftentimes waiting until the last minute to get things done.

Melanie Lising is a bartender at Sycamore in Columbia.

Better Late Than Never


  • 2 ounces of bourbon of choice
  • 1 ounce basil-pear shrub
  • ½ ounce Demerara syrup
    (Demerara syrup – Boil equal parts demerara sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Let cool.)
  • Garnish of blackberries and lemon wedges

Basil-Pear Shrub

  • 2 pears, cubed
  • ½ cup chopped basil (lightly packed)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Bring to a boil, let cool, strain liquid and press the fruit through the strainer. Divide the liquid in half and add one part rice wine vinegar to 2 parts basil-pear syrup.


Use any type of cocktail glass you’d like to assemble. First muddle two blackberries and a lemon wedge, pour in the cocktail, add ice and stir. Serve up or on the rocks (I prefer up) and enjoy!

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