We’re not trying to bum you out or anything, but rhubarb season is short and sweet. And while we’ve been making the most of the plant by using it in everything from salsa to barbecue sauce (courtesy of Sheri Castle's lovely Rhubarb volume), we’re already having pangs of anxiety about our dwindling supply.
Luckily, rhubarb takes beautifully to preservation, and Sheri has included recipes for multiple condiments (rhubarb vinegar, shrub, ketchup, jam and syrup) that will help to stretch out your stash. Our current favorite: Her simple rhubarb syrup, which was dreamed up to accompany pancakes, but fits in quite comfortably in our cocktail repertoire.
Since it’s the weekend, we thought we’d share the recipe for the syrup, along with a bonus not-in-the-book recipe for Sheri’s rhubarb-y take on a G&T.
Gin & Tonic & Rhubarb
1/4 cup crushed ice
1 ounce Rhubarb Syrup (see below)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces gin, preferably Hendrick's
2 ounces chilled tonic water, to taste
4 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
1 slender rhubarb stalk, for garnish
Pour the ice into a highball glass. Add the remaining ingredients, stir once or twice with the rhubarb stalk and serve.
To make the Rhubarb Syrup:
In a large heavy saucepan, combine 9 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb and 3 cups sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the rhubarb is very soft and the liquid reduces to the consistency of pancake syrup or runny honey.
Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Let the sieve stand for 30 minutes or so to extract every drop of syrup, pressing very gently on the solids from time to time. Discard the solids or store them, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (they're great as a topping on yogurt).
Transfer the syrup to a glass jar or bottle. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
(Photo: Lauren V. Allen)