Our Long Pour: “Rhubarb Spritz”

It’s reassuring, in these weird, muted days, to see rhubarb make its way to the greengrocer. Electric pink and with a sour jolt to match, it’s the rowdy and flamboyant gay friend of staid asparagus and flighty ramps. So, I was excited to find this cocktail.

It starts with a quick but relatively complex syrup. For two drinks’ worth of syrup, 50g of sugar is melted in a dry pan, dissolved with a bit of water and the fresh juice of half an orange, and scented with orange zest and half a vanilla pod. 250g of chopped rhubarb is added, and simmered for a few minutes until it collapses into the syrup. Then the mixture is strained and cooled.

Cooled quickly, in this case, because it’s already 5 o’clock!

The rest of the drink comes together quickly. Note that I significantly altered the original recipe because it sounded too sweet and not quite… er… “festive” enough. So I doubled the gin and vermouth, and added rhubarb bitters.

For two drinks, I used:

  • 3.5 oz of rhubarb syrup
  • 2.5 oz white vermouth
  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 2 dashes rhubarb bitters

This is shaken, poured over ice, topped with sparkling wine (cava in this case) and garnished with a jaunty little rhubarb ribbon.

The verdict? Sadly, “meh.” We both thought it was too sweet. I thought the vanilla and orange got in the way of the rhubarb and took this in a dessert-y direction.

I’m going to try another, cleaner version of this soon, with a simple syrup augmented with raw rhubarb juice. I’ll delete the vermouth, too, but keep the addition of rhubarb bitters. Stay tuned!

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