Our Long Pour: “Rhubarb Negroni”

I love rhubarb, so after the recent fail at a rhubarb cocktail, I was anxious to try again. This spin on a Negroni, from Lidia Bastianich’s “Felidia” cookbook, didn’t disappoint.

It starts with a much simpler rhubarb syrup: 2 cups of sliced rhubarb simmered for 15 minutes in 1 cup of water and 1 cup white sugar. Strain that, chill it, and you’re done. No vanilla or orange to muddle the clean taste of rhubarb.

The cocktail is straightforward. For each serving, put the following in a cocktail shaker:

  • 2 oz chilled rhubarb syrup
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 dash of rhubarb bitters (my addition… optional, but I think it adds back some of the aromatic top notes that dissipate as the rhubarb cooks)

Shake over ice, strain into a highball or double rocks glass with more ice, and serve. Negronis aren’t normally shaken, but with the sweetness of the syrup, the dilution provided by the melting ice is welcome.

This is a keeper. It’s sweet enough to entice most people who might find a Negroni too bitter, but definitely not cloying. It’s still a Negroni… just gussied up for spring.

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