Happens every year here in the Midwest — that week when the mercury peaks, the garden wilts and everyone droops and sweats. My motivation to harvest produce, much less cook it, fades as fast as an ice cube on the driveway.
Wait — save that ice cube. As a matter of fact, bring out all the ice trays. When temperature and humidity rise, there’s only one word that inspires us through: blender drinks. And look no further than the humble rhubarb for cocktail inspiration that frappes local flavor with a new twist on happy hour.
You have to admit, rhubarb could use a new recipe twist, something other than pie or cobbler. For the gardeners with prolific rhubarb patches, bet you could use a recipe that uses twelve cups of this vegetable that thinks its a fruit.
This cocktail recipe uses a rhubarb-sugar syrup as the base, blended with ice and rum. If you’re in more of a margarita mood, blend with tequila. For a non-alcoholic version, mix equal parts of the syrup with plain seltzer. The syrup readily freezes and is easiest (and most energy efficient on a hot day) made in the crock-pot.
Here’s the Rhubarb Cocktail recipe, using the sugar syrup:
Rhubarb Sugar Syrup
12 c. chopped fresh rhubarb (frozen also works fine)
2 c. water
3 c. sugar
* In a crock-pot or large saucepan, cook rhubarb and water over low heat for approximately two hours or until rhubarb is a soft pulp.
* Drain out pulp and place warm liquid in large bowl.
* Stir in sugar until completely dissolved.
Rhubarb Cocktail (individual serving)
1/2 c. rhubarb sugar syrup
1/8 c. rum
1 c. ice
* Blend sugar, run and ice until smooth. Serve cold. Very cold.
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Photo Credit: La tartine gourmande at Flickr (under a Creative Commons license)