The tart, ruby-red, almost floral flavor of rhubarb just screams spring. It's a very versatile vegetable, that's delicious in desserts but is also tasty in savory incarnations. Check out some ideas for savory uses on The Kitchn or Saveur's ideas for sweet and savory. We love it in a classic rhubarb-strawberry pie or as a fruit crisp filling mixed with a generous portion of ginger and topped with a crumble topping that includes diced candied ginger for the win. What we’re really loving right now is using it to make a bright red syrup that is fantastic in cocktails (see the recipe for a Rhubarb Collins below) or added to lemonade.
Makes about 8 ounces
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Pour the cooked mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large container. Once most of the liquid is in the container, press the remaining solids gently to get more syrup. ***Don’t throw those solids away – they make a great refrigerator jam for toast, paired with goats cheese on crackers, or a topping for ice cream.***
Using a funnel, transfer the syrup into a clean bottle that you can seal. The syrup will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator, but it probably won’t last that long.
Rhubarb Collins Cocktail
1 oz rhubarb syrup
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
2 – 4 oz chilled sparkling wine or soda water
Put the rhubarb syrup, gin, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until mixed, about 15 seconds. Strain into a highball glass and top with sparkling wine or soda water.