Wednesday, June 1, 2016

R(h)um And Rhubarb Cocktails - By The Batch

Deck drinks time is here! FINALLY. Holy hell, what's the point of enduring months of cold, snow, freezing rain and just plain miserably gray days if it isn't time to get our butts out into sun and warm, gentle breezes? 

And as long as we're out there, why not celebrate the occasion with a cocktail that is simply, perfectly in season? Better yet, make a batch of this cocktail base ahead of time. Why? More time in the sun instead of in the kitchen!

Right now, rhubarb is fresh from the fields and you'll find it all over local farmers markets and grocery stores. If you're lucky, you have some growing in your own backyard or even in a generous neighbor's backyard. In my old neighborhood, right around the corner, a neighbor used to heap piles of beautiful ruby red stalks on a picnic table by the road. We customers picked up fresh from the garden bundles of the spring delight and left our money in the box provided. Couldn't get any fresher than that!

Since the season is so short, I buy and use rhubarb as soon as I see it. This year, a big batch of rhubarb simple syrup for richly tart, sweet and sparkly cocktails was on the top of the list. Next I made a refreshing rhubarb shrub...also for cocktails. Finally, there will be a rhubarb upsidedown cake and maybe even strawberry rhubarb shortcake to round out my rhubarb list for this year. 

But first, let's just pull up a comfy lounge chair on the deck or the balcony and simply enjoy a damned fine cocktail. Cheers!

Rhum and Rhubarb Cocktails - By The Batch

Cocktail base:

  • 3/4 C rhubarb simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 C Barbancourt Rhum from Haiti 
  • 1/3 C Koloa dark rum from Hawaii

In a glass pitcher, mix the above ingredients. Chill.

When it's cocktail time, fill a glass with ice, pour the cocktail base halfway up the glass and top with Sanpellegrino limonata and 6-8 drops of Bittermens Elemakule tiki bitters. Pretty it up with a decorative paper straw and a fun stirrer, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Rhubarb Simple Syrup 

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C water
  • 3 C thinly sliced fresh rhubarb (be sure NOT to use any leaves - they are poisonous!) 

In a medium heavy bottomed pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Once all the sugar is dissolved, slowly add rhubarb to the liquid. Stir until the rhubarb wilts down, then simmer 20-30 minutes. Cool. 

When cool, strain the mixture into a large container, then carefully pour the pretty pink liquid into a quart Mason jar and cover. 

Don't throw the solids out! Use those to top ice cream. Yum!

NOTE: Store any leftover cocktail base in a covered jar in the fridge. You can double the base recipe easily, just be sure to use a bigger pot!

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