Friday, 20 July 2012

Fabulous Friday: Rhubarb Cocktail Hour

Allotmenteer's Reward

Another Fabulous Friday, another rhubarb cocktail. I had to follow last week's post on making your own rhubarb vodka (I hope you have all done your homework and have a batch infusing) with a glorious cocktail recipe to use it. I've been perfecting this one for a couple of months and it has proved a big hit with all my test subjects. I was inspired to try to capture some of the flavours on my allotment but I didn't limit myself to only home-grown ingredients. I haven't managed to grow ginger (or lemons) just yet but I couldn't resist the classic rhubarb/ginger combination and its spiciness is suitably invigorating after a hard day's digging (or a crappy day/week at work).

I've had a lot of fun experimenting with different flavoured sugar syrups lately. They are a great multipurpose ingredient; you can use them in cocktails (of course), as a base for lemonade or sorbets and as syrup to poach fruit. Lemon verbena is definitely my favourite so far, it's fresh fragrance and flavour is like a supercharged herbal lemon. You could use plain sugar syrup but the lemon verbena syrup really gives this cocktail a more rounded flavour (even though you're adding fresh leaves as well). Flavoured sugar syrup will easily keep for a few weeks in the fridge though I have to admit I have been making so many of these cocktails, mine hasn't really had a chance.

I've also served this as a long drink - just pour the shaken mixture into a highball glass full of ice and top up with sparking water, a rhubarb stick as swizzle stick adds a rather jazzy element.

Allotmenteer's Reward (makes two)
100ml rhubarb vodka
55ml lemon juice
45ml lemon verbena sugar syrup*
5cm piece of ginger
small handful of lemon verbena leaves
To garnish: either a slice of ginger on the side (smells great when you take a sip) or a lemon verbena tip

Peel the ginger, cut it into a couple of big pieces and throw it into your cocktail shaker. Add the lemon verbena leaves (stripped off the stem) followed by the lemon juice and the sugar syrup. Using a pestle, muddle the ginger and leaves into the liquid to try to release as much of their flavour as possible. Add the rhubarb vodka, a big handful of ice and shake hard. Pour into a chilled glass, garnish as you desire and enjoy.

* To make my lemon verbena sugar syrup I made a simple syrup as usual (1:1 sugar and water) and once all the sugar was dissolved added a big handful of lemon verbena leaves and let it simmer for 10 minutes. I then let it cool and filtered out the leaves before bottling and storing in the fridge.

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