Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: Jenna May's Rhubarb Gin Fizz

Megan says:  I met my friend Jenna May a couple few years ago in college at the beautiful and presigious Western Washington University.  She is not only a lover of food, fun, & cocktails (a Beauty for the day must) but she is most recently a published writer!  About Shakespeare no less!  She was nice enough to lower her standards and write us up a post about her delicious cocktail.  Thanks Jenna!

Jenna May says: 

I love rhubarb.  I get inexplicably excited when I see it, either growing, or cut in the store, in big piles of bright red stalks.  We never, ever had it growing up, so I didn't try it until well into my twenties.  I was obsessed.  At once somehow earthy and bright, tart and floral, and pretty, pretty pink--this plant is magic!  Plus, it's got so much natural pectin, that you can do all sorts of fun things with it with nearly no effort.  Genius.  

So after scouring the internet for recipes to use up my best friend's giant haul of garden rhubarb, I saw a bunch of cocktail recipes.  They all looked delicious--and labour-intensive.  I don't do labour-intensive with my booze.  So, I made some sweetened rhubarb puree, and have been going cocktail-crazy ever since!  The puree also freezes well, in case you want to have these beauties later in the summer, or early fall.  

The Sauce:

Easy, Fast, Rhubarb Puree (for all kinds of cocktail fun...seriously, try mixing it into a margarita...yes.  Do it.)

4-5 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1" chunks
1/2 cup raw agave syrup (or whatever you want to sweeten with!  I like the agave because it doesn't have to dissolve)

(alternatively, I recently did this with a small batch...2 ish cups of rhubarb, and a scant 1/3 cup of agave)

Put everything in a pot on the stove--turn up the heat to medium.  Stir it all around.  Let it sizzle away.  Stir it every few minutes.  Watch as it dissolves magically into pink slop.  Once all the rhubarb is broken down (maybe 10 minutes or so), remove from heat and let cool.  Then, use an immersion blender, or dump it into your regular blender, puree until smooth and pale, rosy pink, and voila!  Cocktail magic!

The Sauce:

What follows is my favourite outcome of the great rhubarb cocktail experiement:  The Rhubarb Gin Fizz (yes!)

Something about gin just makes sense with rhubarb.  I recommend using your favourite gin, and lots of it, as the rhubarb puree is silky and creamy, and can handle a double (and-a-half) measure of spirits.  I have used Bombay Sapphire in this to great success, but Hendricks is my favourite.  The rose and cucumber notes in that gin, mixing with the rhubarb and grapefruit?  Hello, tastes like sitting outside in a flower garden on a sunny day!

One tumbler, highball, or collins glass (I used 8 oz. lemonade glasses)

Two or three ice cubes

2 oz. Gin (For the civilians, 1-1/2 is probably about right)

1-3 T Rhubarb Puree (I do 2, but the amount of gin, how sweet you like your drink, etc, will dictate your choices)

Perrier Grapefruit sparkling water to fill (you can also use the lemon quite nicely--but the grapefruit is my favourite)

Put your puree in the bottom of the glass, add ice cubes, add gin, stir with your favourite swizzle stick or cocktail spoon, when well-mixed, fill glass to the top with the Perrier grapefruit water (careful, it will fizz up like a bellini!).  Garnish with mint, rosemary, or (if you find some midget stalks) fresh rhubarb!  Cheers!"


  1. Great post, Jenna you are a fabulous writer - hope you have more recipes / cocktails to share! And this cocktail looks fabulous. I love anything rhubarb, have a ton in my garden right now and can't wait to try it!

  2. PS. Wasn't it just a couple of years ago we were all at WWU? Feels that way to me!

  3. Love the post - I am crazy about Rhubarb and I am really excited about making a rhubarb margarita.

  4. I heart Rhubarb. And writers from Western. :)