A Seasonal Cocktail.

Let’s face it: sometimes, we all just need a drink.

rhubarb mojitoMaybe there’s a little bit of extra stress in your life.  Maybe it’s the weather’s been acting up and you need to remind yourself that it’s almost summer.  Maybe you recently returned from a trip to Maine, where you thought about buying a water carbonater and of all the different syrups you could make to flavor sodas, spritzers and spirits.

Or maybe you were just thirsty.

Whatever your reasons, there’s none that I can think of that should possibly dissuade you from boiling down some rhubarb into syrup.  I’ve been stirring the results into everything ranging from my morning orange juice to my midday seltzer to my midnight tisane; the other day Keith, Melissa and I poured shots of rum over the syrup and made mojitos in a vain attempt to convince ourselves that we live in a balmy, tropical climate.  It didn’t work, but I’m certainly glad we tried…

Rhubarb Syrup, from the kitchn

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine everything in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Ladle into a fine strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth) that has been placed over a large bowl. Strain until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Give a little press on the solids with a spoon to extract more syrup. Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle, cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate. It should keep for quite some time in the fridge.

Notes: Don’t throw away the rhubarb pulp!  Try mixing it into some Greek yogurt in the morning or dropping it onto a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Personally, I like to spoon the pulp onto a piece of whole wheat bread that I’ve covered with crumbled goat cheese; then I sprinkle it with finely-chopped rosemary, crack some black pepper over it all and slide it into the toaster oven until the bread crisps up.  As I wait for it to cool, I drizzle some olive oil across the top.

Additional uses for syrup:

  • Whisk with powdered sugar for a rhubarb-flavored glaze as a frosting substitute on cakes and cookies.
  • Mix with Champagne or sparkling wine for rhubarb bellinis.
  • Drizzle over French toast in lieu of maple syrup.
  • Make rhubarb sundaes!

Rhubarb Mojitos, from Brooklyn Farmhouse

For each beverage:
4 tablespoons rhubarb syrup
1 ounce white rum
5-6 large mint leaves, torn
Seltzer or club soda

Add rhubarb syrup and mint to each small highball glass. Add 1 ounce of white rum. Stir to mix.  Top with seltzer or club soda and add ice.