Rhubarb Simple Syrup

updated May 16, 2024
Rhubarb Simple Syrup Recipe
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

It’s rhubarb season and no doubt everyone is making rhubarb pie! But there are many other things you can do with rhubarb: relishes, chutneys, and jammy compotes; sauces both sweet and savory, and rhubarb desserts like ice cream and sorbets.

The list is endless, but one of my favorite things to make when rhubarb is plentiful is this lovely, pink-hued rhubarb syrup. Here’s how to make it.

Key Ingredients in Rhubarb Simple Syrup

  • Rhubarb: Fresh rhubarb is best when it’s in season, but you can use frozen rhubarb too (thawed, if frozen).
  • Sugar: You’ll need 1 cup of granulated sugar.

How to Make Rhubarb Simple Syrup

  1. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.
  3. Pour the syrup into a clean bottle. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.
(Image credit: Dana Velden)

Ways to Use Rhubarb Simple Syrup:

  • Rhubarb soda: Mix with club soda to make a refreshing drink – about one part syrup to 3 parts club soda. Serve over ice, garnished with a lime wedge.
  • Rhubarb bellinis: A simple recipe of about one part syrup to 4 parts sparkling wine, Champagne, or prosecco.
  • Rhubarb cocktails: Use the syrup in any cocktail, such as rhubarb margarita.
  • Drizzle on ice cream: Drizzle the syrup over vanilla ice cream (or vanilla yogurt!).
  • Drizzle on cakes: Poke holes in a plain vanilla or lemon cake with a skewer and pour the syrup over until it soaks in.

What to Do with the Rhubarb Solids

The leftover rhubarb solids make a nice rough jam, so if you want you can put them in a clean jar and keep them in your refrigerator for a week or so. It’s great on buttered toast or strawberry bread!

Rhubarb Simple Syrup Variations

  • Rhubarb-ginger syrup: Add a few coins of ginger to the rhubarb at the start of the cooking time.
  • Rhubarb-orange syrup: Add a few large pieces of orange peel to the rhubarb at the start of the cooking time.
  • Rhubarb-basil syrup: Toward the end of the simmering time, add a small handful of rough chopped basil.
  • Rhubarb-thyme syrup: Toward the end of the simmering time, add several sprigs of thyme.
  • Rhubarb-rose syrup: Stir a few teaspoons of rose water into the finished syrup.
  • Rhubarb-orange flower syrup: Stir a few teaspoons of orange flower water into the finished syrup.

Storage Tips

Rhubarb simple syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup Recipe

Makes about 8 ounces

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 cups

    chopped rhubarb

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 cup

    water

Instructions

  1. Combine 4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

  2. Set a fine-mesh strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.

  3. Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Rhubarb simple syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in a glass container in the refrigerator.