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May 27, 2013

Grazing: Rhubarb-Orleans Daiquiri

Rhubarb_staksAnother year, another exploding rhubarb patch. With so many stems and no real talent for baking, I sometimes use the tart stalks for a nefarious purpose: drinking. Last year, I gave a bundle of stalks to an acquiantance to make bitters, which he returned to me a few weeks later; I also paired a rhubarb simple syrup with raspberries, rum and mint for this juicy little number.

This year, I'm armed with an Omega juicer, a masticating monster of a machine. I fed some rhubarb stalks into it over the weekend, and their fibers proceeded to get tangled around the auger — but some rosy-pink juice trickled out, too. Its tartness was even more powerful than I expected.

I tried blending this juice with tequila (ick) and shook it together with vodka (which was just OK). Though I had forgotten that it was Smugglers' Notch Distillery Rum that worked so well last year, it's the very place I ended up again this year.

I dribbled some rhubarb juice together with this smooth, oaky rum, as well as with some Orleans Bitters, grapefruit and lime juices, mint and a few spoonsful of rhubarb simple syrup to balance out the tartness. It sounds like a strange combination on the surface, but it yielded a silky drink whose pretty pink color belies its potent, tart-bittersweet flavors.

With its combo of sugars, rum and citrus, this drink resembles a daiquiri, but barely. You could serve this over the rocks and top it with sparkling water for a spritzer, too; I simply shook the drink until it was really cold and then sipped it from a dainty vintage cocktail glass, garnished with even more herbs.

I'll probably finesse it over the next few weeks. But version 1.0 is pretty quenching. See recipe after the break.

Rhubarb_drinkRhubarb-Orleans Daiquiri

Ice, preferably cracked
2 ounces aged rum, such as Smugglers' Notch Distillery Rum
1 ounces Orleans Bitters (Campari is a decent alternative)
1/2 ounce simple syrup (rhubarb simple works really well, naturally)
1/2 ounce rhubarb juice*
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
Spring of mint

Add ice and a sprig of mint to a cocktail shaker. Add rum, Orleans, simple syrup and juices, then shake for 10 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass, or serve in an ice-filled tumbler, topped with sparkling water to taste. 

*To juice rhubarb: Cut the stalks from the leaves, as the latter are toxic. Wash the stalks and cut into 3-inch-long pieces. Either push them through a juicer, or put them into a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring this to a boil until the stalks are softened, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then strain the juice through a sieve, pressing on the pulp to get out every last bit of liquid.


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