As far as simple pleasures go, few things outrank a seasonal cocktail featuring my favorite things. I adore both rhubarb and gin cocktails, and I'm frankly a little surprised that it's taken me this long to put them together. While searching for rhubarb cocktail inspiration, I came across this recipe for the Bridal Shower (how sweet!) which incorporates rhubarb simple syrup and Campari into a vodka-based drink (finally, something for those of you who don't love gin as much as I do!).
I still wish that I liked Campari (I don't) so I substituted Aperol and started to experiment. I did lots of recipe testing (all in the name of research / for your sake, dear reader!), and here's the verdict: this cocktail works with either gin or vodka, totally depending on your preference. If you're making this rhubarb cocktail with vodka, I like the Bridal Shower recipe as is. I found that simply swapping in gin at a 1:1 ratio overpowered the delicate rhubarb flavor, so if you're making it with gin, I recommend increasing the amount of rhubarb syrup to 1 ounce. The original recipe calls for either orange or Angostura bitters, and I preferred orange bitters with the vodka version and Angostura with the gin.
Read on for how to make rhubarb simple syrup, which could also be used to make pretty (and tasty!) mocktails. I hope you enjoy sipping these lovely rhubarb cocktails (however you choose to make them!) outdoors on a perfect spring afternoon. Can't you just picture it??
How lush and gorgeous does that rhubarb syrup look?
I really adore the color of the cocktails themselves too - so subtle and pretty.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
- 1 pound rhubarb (for me, that was two stalks)
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Trim rhubarb and cut into pieces
- Place in medium saucepan with water
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer until the color has seeped out of the rhubarb and into the liquid, about 15 minutes
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan
- Add sugar, return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved