As a kid I had an aversion to rhubarb. I guess my tender young taste buds couldn’t handle the strong tartness of rhubarb pie or sauce. Maybe it was because my mom was always skimping on sugar.
Now I have my own rhubarb patch and when those big green leaves reach for the sky it is a sure sign of spring. I’ve come full circle with my relationship with rhubarb. The beautiful pink hue is irresistible when you simmer it down into a strained liquid for a cocktail and the little hint of tart is balanced out when chopped up in a morning coffee cake.
Here’s a summer apéritif, Rhubarb Sunset, everyone can cool down with. First, we start with the foundation.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Put the following ingredients into a small saucepan
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
3 or so lemon strips
Simmer 15-20 minutes on the stove until the rhubarb is soft. Strain the pink liquid through a sieve and cool in the refrigerator. You can discard the solids. This yields about 1 1/3 cups.
Fill a medium sized glass with ice and add the following.
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. rhubarb simple syrup
1 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. lemon juice – just a squeeze is fine
top off with club soda or sparkling water
Make sure to adjust and taste as you add the water depending on how big your glass is. I used a stemless wine glass. I filled it 3/4 with ice and after the ingredients were added I had enough room for about 1/4 cup of sparkling water.