What Can You Do With a Pound of Rhubarb?

I’ve found that taking a cocktail approach to non-alcoholic drinks — using a cocktail shaker, muddling, using simple syrup or agave syrup — helps me get beyond mere lemonade in the summer months. Most importantly, it’s enabled me to experiment in small quantities.

I’ve muddled jalapeños and ginger (sometimes both together) and I’ve used ice-filled cocktail shakers to puree muddled fruit for berry lemonades. I’ve also mixed fresh-squeezed orange juice with a little vanilla for a homemade Orange Julius flavor.

Last weekend, I bought a pound of rhubarb stalks at the farmers’ market and didn’t really know what to do with them. Remembering a rhubarb cocktail recipe in Kara Newman’s Spice & Ice that calls for pureed rhubarb, I chopped three stalks and put them in the blender. Per Kara’s directions, I strained the resulting puree through cheesecloth, squeezing the juice out of the fibery pulp (which, once wrung dry, looks just like a hairball vomited up by a cat).

But what to do with the rhubarb juice? I tried a 1:1:1 mixture of rhubarb, lemon juice, and simple syrup. I stirred it in a glass, added some ice, and topped it off with club soda. It’s perfect. The earthiness of the rhubarb is mitigated by the sugar and lemon, making it subtle — not too sweet, not too sour. It’s a very refreshing and mellow substitute for lemonade.

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5 Responses to What Can You Do With a Pound of Rhubarb?

  1. missgrill says:

    love rhubarb. have never made juice though. a must try.
    simple syrups to make ‘soda’s’ throughout the summer are the best. ginger being my fave 🙂

    • missgrill says:

      do you mind if I link to this on my ‘to do’ list???

    • Thanks for the comments! It’s pretty easy to do with a blender. The key is to separate all the fibrous bits from the juice. Alone, the rhubarb juice is pretty weird, so it definitely benefits from mixing with a little sugar and another fruit juice. Strawberry is such a common combination, but I didn’t want to go that route.

      I tried mixing the rhubarb juice with tequila and had some interesting results. Not great though. It needed something besides the lemon and simple syrup I was using.

      • missgrill says:

        rhubarb can be a bit rough on its own unless tons of sugar is added… im thinking other fruit, maybe blueberry or blackberries. I find the strawberry rhubarb mix reminds me of way too many, way too sweet pies when i was growing up.

  2. Jack says:

    I really like rhubarb, and enjoy making infused syrups. I’m going to try this for a tropical cocktail…but after tasting it just how you made it. Thanks so much for the recipe.

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