Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with a lime wheel and a strip of candied rhubarb.
A few years ago, I paid a spring visit to friend in Virginia, and her husband marked the occasion with a delicious strawberry rhubarb cobbler (of the dessert, not drink, variety) made from rhubarb they’d grown in their backyard. It was my first taste of rhubarb, and I was instantly charmed by its sweet, sour and vegetal taste. So, when I passed by a bin of rhubarb stalks (the leaves are poisonous) at the grocery store yesterday, I grabbed a few for my next drink.
I first thought a margarita would be fun but saw that the venerable PDT Cocktail Book included a Rhubarbarita, so I turned to gin instead and thought a gin gimlet would let my rhubarb simple syrup shine through .
I had a bottle of local distiller Green Hat’s Spring/Summer Gin on hand but found that the botanicals, while delicious, overwhelmed the rhubarb. I made a pit stop at the liquor store and picked up a bottle of the more restrained Jensen’s dry london gin. Much better, but the rhubarb needed a boost. I’d reserved the cooked stalks I’d strained out of the simple syrup and, after seeing a rhubarb puree used in this month’s Bon Appetit, decided to add it back to the simple syrup and puree it.
To make the rhubarb purée, mix a half cup each of water and sugar, add a large stalk of rhubarb cut into 1″ slices, simmer for 15 minutes and let cool. While it’s cooling, start your candied rhubarb garnish by preheating your oven to 350° F. Next, take a paring knife and run it flat along a raw stalk of rhubarb to make thin, 4″ long strips. Your vegetable peeler might handle this, but mine led to nothing but disappointment and foul language.
Once the syrup has cooled, dip the raw strips of rhubarb into it, then place them on a cookie sheet and slide it onto the middle rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, watching them closely. Once the edges begin to brown, take them out, gingerly peel them off of their cooking spot so they won’t stick, then let them cool until crisp.
Finally, either use an immersion blender or a blender to puree the rhubarb and simple syrup, then build your cocktail and Voila! Rhubarb Gimlet!