It’s rhubarb season but the perennial vegetable seems next to impossible to find in grocery stores. Luckily, my friend Sarah grows some in her garden and I did a curbside pickup for some of her yield.
I knew I wanted to make a cocktail from the beautifully sweet-tart vegetable. I waffled about how best to use it but I thought a rhubarb syrup would give me the widest array of options.
To show you just how versatile this syrup is I’m giving you a blank slate. A basic formula for a rhubarb sour that you can experiment with. All you need is to make the rhubarb syrup outlined in the recipe below, get a lemon, and pick a base spirit of your choosing.
I made this one with mezcal. I loved the balance of the sweet-tart rhubarb syrup with the acidity of the lemon and the smoky character of the mezcal. I encourage you to try it out with different base spirits like gin, whiskey, tequila, vodka, white rum, or even sparkling wine.
Your imagination is the only limit with this.
If you’re looking for non-alcoholic uses for the rhubarb syrup, consider using 1 oz and topping it up with soda water for a refreshing zero-proof spritzer. Or drizzle it over your yogurt in the morning, ice cream, or even pancakes.
Add base spirit, rhubarb syrup, lemon juice, and egg white to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 15-20 seconds.
Add ice to the shaker and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with rhubarb ribbon (created by running a vegetable peeler down the length of a stalk of rhubarb).
In saucepan over medium-high heat, bring rhubarb, sugar, 1 cup water and lemon peel to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb breaks down and mixture thickens slightly, about 5-8 minutes.
Strain into bowl, pressing solids gently to extract liquid; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 5 days.
Rhubarb syrup recipe adapted from Canadian Living, June 11, 2008.