Straight Up: Rhubarb is Springing Up in Warm-Weather Drinks

Rhubarb is one of the surest signs of spring for us, stirring up childhood memories of warm afternoons spent on the porch steps with friends, dipping the stringy pink-green stalks into little cups of sugar and delighting in the mouth-puckeringly tart taste.

Today we’re still wild about all things rhubarb: pie, jam, compote - can’t get enough of them - so when, on a recent visit to the Flatiron Lounge, we saw "Rhubarb-Strawberry Daiquiri" on the cocktail list, we jumped at the chance to give one a taste.

The blush-pink drink turned out to be a playful spin on the rum/lime juice/sugar combination of the classic straight-up daiquiri, with spunky rhubarb standing in for the citrusy acidity of the lime. Recalling Chris' post on Franny's Rhubarb and Aperol Cocktail from last summer here at The Kitchn, and knowing how nicely rhubarb pairs with strawberry, orange, and ginger flavors, we got to wondering about other cocktail possibilities for this amazingly versatile vegetable.

So, we did a little Googling around the culinary blogosphere, and our harvest basket came up full:

While the recipes vary slightly, each of these drinks uses a kind of rhubarb syrup (one of simple syrup’s many fancy cousins), with or without its pulp, as a base. We simmered up a batch with this formula and were pleased with the tart, ruby-red results:

Rhubarb Syrup

yields about 1 cup of liquid

4 cups rhubarb, washed and trimmed and cut into ½ inch chunks (about 4 medium stalks)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rhubarb and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb softens. Reduce heat and cover pan, continuing to stir occasionally until rhubarb breaks down into thin fibers (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with the back of a spoon until all the juice is released. (The remaining solids can be saved to serve over ice cream or Greek yogurt.) Chill and then use in your favorite drink!

Related: Franny's Rhubarb and Aperol Cocktail

Have you ever tried a cocktail made with rhubarb?

(Images: Nora Maynard)

-Nora

Per serving, based on 2 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
438
Fat
0.5 g (0.8%)
Saturated
0.1 g (0.6%)
Carbs
111.1 g (37%)
Fiber
4.4 g (17.6%)
Sugars
102.5 g
Protein
2.2 g (4.4%)
Sodium
15.5 mg (0.6%)

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