Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rhubarb + Gin

I am terrible at making cocktails. When I'm at home, I have wine mostly because I don't know how to make anything fun or fancy on my own and without the skilled knowledge of a bartender. Case in point: I ordered a whiskey smash the other night and the bartender didn't know how to make it. So I explained what was in it: whiskey, mint leaves, and lemon, thinking it would jog is memory. In reality, there's also simple syrup which serves as the non-alcoholic component of this drink. So I ended up with a glass of whiskey on the rocks with some mint leaves in the bottom. Not my forte.

Stewing the rhubarb
However, I would like to be able to wow my guests with a signature drink here and there. Continuing with our rhubarb theme, I made some rhubarb syrup which is surprisingly versatile. It can be used in cocktails, as a dessert topping, or even to flavor ice cream or sorbet. First things first: how to make the syrup.

The perfect lighting for rhubarb sauce
Similar to when we made the coffee cake and pie, rhubarb is chopped into pieces and added to a pot of hot water that has equal parts water and sugar. Once the rhubarb is cooked and squishy, it is strained into a jar with the rhubarb compote saved for future consumption on its own.

Happy Hour starts now
Taking equal parts rhubarb syrup and gin, combined with lemon juice, lime juice and one egg white in a cocktail shaker. I know the egg white sounds strange but it gives the drink a nice foamy texture and a hint of meringue flavor. Many cocktails with a layer of foam on top are a result of egg white usage. Vigorously shake the ingredients and then pour into a glass with ice. Garnish with a stalk of rhubarb if desired. Ideally the rhubarb syrup will be a nice pink color but as we learned in Rhubarb 101, not all rhubarb is pink so you can end up with a greener syrup (which is okay).

Ice cream maker all geared up
If you are making sorbet, you follow a similar process to making the syrup but you do not need to strain the rhubarb pieces out. You simply add the entire mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Once the ingredients are blended evenly, transfer the blender to the fridge to chill thoroughly. When the mixture is chilled, add it to an ice cream attachment and set it to the lowest stir setting. Add in two tablespoons of gin, if desired, to complete the rhubarb gin theme. I used an ice cream maker attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer to complete the sorbet process. The churning will solidify the mixture and slowly turn it from liquid to slush. Once the sorbet resembles a thick slushy, transfer the contents of the bowl into a container and place in the freezer until you're ready to serve.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for sorbet! 
Recipes adapted from Food52

Gin Rhubarb Fizz

Rhubarb Syrup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 2 ounces of rhubarb syrup
  • 1/2 ounce each of lemon and lime juice
  • Soda water
  • Ice
  1. To make the simple syrup, boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups of chopped rhubarb and cook until tender and slightly squishy. Fit a strainer over a jar to catch the syrup but leave the rhubarb pieces to the side.
  2. Combine 2 ounces of gin, 2 ounces of rhubarb syrup, 1/2 ounce of lemon juice, 1/2 ounce of lime juice and one egg white in a cocktail shaker (or mason jar). Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  3. Add ice and continue to shake for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass and top off with soda water.
  5. Garnish with stalk of rhubarb, if desired.

Gin Rhubarb Sorbet
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar (a little less than a full cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 2 Tablespoons of gin
  1. Follow the steps to make rhubarb syrup but retain the rhubarb pieces at the end. Instead of straining the mixture, add the rhubarb, water and sugar to a blender. 
  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of light corn syrup and blend until smooth.
  3. Place the mixture in the fridge until it has cooled completely.
  4. Following the instructions on your ice cream maker, mix the rhubarb mixture with 2 Tablespoons of gin. If you add too much gin, the mixture won't solidify.
  5. Freeze the slushy mixture for 3 hours before serving (continuing to follow the instructions for your ice cream maker).
  6. Serve cold with fresh berries or plain. 
  7. Enjoy!

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