A couple of weeks ago, I decided to branch out beyond dessert when it came to rhubarb. I'd been thinking about rhubarb cocktails for a while, and decided to make my dream a reality.
A bit of casual Googling turned up this recipe for rhubarb simple syrup from The Greene Grape, a blog from the owners of a Fort Greene-based wine store. All it called for was boiling up some water, sugar and chopped rhubarb, reducing the mixture to a simmer, and letting things hang out for a bit.
I got to work, adding the rhuarb, water and sugar (I used turbinado sugar for my first batch) to the pot, and the result was a cup of goreous, dark-pink syrup. (I thought the turbinado sugar would add a nice molasses tone to the flavor, and it did. However, the heavier turbinado sugar fell out of syrup form pretty quickly once I refigerated it, so I'd recommend sticking with plain white sugar. For a second batch, I used refined, white sugar, and the syrup came out the promised bright pink.)
So far, I've been using the syrup in a simple cooler: syrup, gin, seltzer, and a squeeze of lime. Garnished with a strawberry (which gets nice and boozy while it waits for you at the bottom of the glass), it's pretty much the girliest-looking-but-not-tasting drink I've seen in a long while.
Queenie's Rhubarb Cooler
Multiplies to serve as many as you like
1 part rhubarb simple syrup
5 parts gin
2 parts seltzer
Squeeze of lime
1 hulled strawberry, for garnish
Place a few ice cubes in a glass (or lots of ice cubes in a pitcher, if you're making multiple cocktails). Add the rhubarb simple syrup and gin. Stir to combine. Add the seltzer and lime juice and stir again, more gently, until the mixture is just combined. Garnish with a strawberry (one to each glass) and enjoy!