We just moved to an acreage last fall and I was blown away this spring by the abundance of rhubarb from the rhubarb patch in our garden. It's a wonder I haven't been making rhubarb pies, rhubarb compote, rhubarb ice cream and rhubarb everything all spring! The truth is that the garden and the acreage is taking up a fair bit of my spare time. That's okay. It's a labour of love. There will be more time this summer for more rhubarb recipes!
So the other day after a busy morning in the garden I was craving a cool drink, something crisp and refreshing. And the rhubarb patch was staring right at me - Ahhhh! Rhubarb Coolers! So I grabbed some fresh stalks of rhubarb and headed to the kitchen.
Once I got going I couldn't believe the wonderful aroma coming from the pot on the stove when the rhubarb and orange peel were cooking. The smell wafted through the kitchen and throughout the whole house. Mmmmmm.... I could hardly wait for these wonderful rhubarb coolers to be ready!
If you can get yourself a bit organized early on in the day this gorgeous cooler will be ready for 5 o'clock drinks! The prep time itself isn't daunting, it's just that the rhubarb concentrate needs time to chill in the fridge before drinking. Just think of adding an ice cube and it melting and diluting your drink right away.... hmmmm.... ya, it's best to wait until it chills in the fridge!
This recipe combines rhubarb, and fresh orange juice and lemon juice. It's a wonderful summer flavour combination. You then mix it with a simple syrup to make a rhubarb concentrate. This is great because you can make a big batch of it at one time, perfect for parties, weeknight entertaining, or just having it on hand when you feel like a cool refreshing drink! Simply pour some of the rhubarb concentrate into a glass, add ice cubes, add an ounce of vodka or rum (optional) and top off with sparkling water.... soda water will do too in a pinch!
The best part about keeping the rhubarb concentrate in a pitcher in the fridge is that everyone can make it to their taste. I prefer mine with lots of sparkling water whereas my husband likes it a bit sweeter. And by not pouring in the alcohol in right away you can serve this as a non-alcoholic beverage to the kiddies and those who prefer to have a non-alcoholic drink! But if you're making this for a crowd grab a big punch bowl, you'll need it!
I promise you'll be making this all summer!
Oh - and what I forgot to tell you earlier was that while I was in the garden I came across this little tree frog just chilling in the rhubarb patch!
- 10 stalks of rhubarb, fresh or thawed from frozen
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of white granulated sugar (can substitute other sweeteners)
- fresh water
- rum or vodka (optional)
- 1 orange, 1 lemon and mint leaves for garnish
1. Bring a pot of fresh water to boil, approximately 4 cups
2. Chop the rhubarb stalks and add to boiling water and reduce to medium heat
3. Zest the peel of one orange and add to the pot
4. Cook until the rhubarb is soft and mushy - about 10 minutes will do
5. While the rhubarb is cooking get a fine wire mesh strainer, or cheesecloth and place it inside a colander, and put it over a wide-mouth pitcher, large bowl, or another pot that you can work with to create a solid base, you don't want your strainer to slip away!
6. Take the cooked rhubarb and pour the contents of the pot through your mesh strainer or cheesecloth and discard the solid pieces
7. Juice your lemon and orange and add the juice to your rhubarb concentrate.
8. Put a pot on to boil with another cup of water and one cup of sugar to make the simple syrup, keep on the heat until the sugar is dissolved
9. Add the simple syrup to the rhubarb water in a pitcher and put it in the fridge to cool
10. Once the concentrate has cooled and you're ready to serve pour 1/3 cup rhubarb concentrate, 2/3 cups sparking water, 1 oz of rum or vodka and a generous amount of ice into a glass
11. Garnish with lemon and lime wedges and a sprig of mint and enjoy!
* adjust the ratio to your taste - you may prefer it to be sweeter than this!
Makes 5 cups of rhubarb concentrate. Will yield about 10 servings when added to sparkling water.
Wife, mother and pilot, with a passion for good food.