Much Ado About Rhubarb
The start of summertime means that my Instagram feed is filled with cakes, pies, and fruity desserts. There is one constant ingredient that I’ve noticed more and more of every year: rhubarb. You’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant or bakery out there without rhubarb popping up somewhere on their menu. Maybe it’s gaining popularity, or maybe I’ve just begun to notice more, but either way, it’s hard to miss and I realized I knew close to nothing about it.
So what is rhubarb exactly? It’s a stalking vegetable, think of celery with a bad sunburn. Rhubarb grows large leaves that are actually poisonous, but the stalk which is edible, produces a beautiful tart flavor. Even though rhubarb is indeed a vegetable, it is often treated like a fruit in baked recipes. With just a little sugar added, rhubarb makes for a delicious dessert.
I’ve consumed many a rhubarb concoction, but I have never attempted to make anything with it myself, so I decided to give it a whirl. I’m not into pie, but I’m a sucker for a good curd, so I whipped up some Rhubarb Bars which are not only delicious, but fun to say.
I worked off of a recipe from blogger Broma Bakery. Sarah, of Broma Bakery, has gorgeous pictures, inspiring and delicious recipes. You should definitely give her a follow. In her recipe she teaches you how to cook the rhubarb down, make a delightful shortbread crust, and the ratios for a perfect curd. The recipe called for some red food coloring, as the bright red color of the rhubarb fades slightly when cooking. I opted not to add an additional coloring as I am an au naturale type of gal, but the flavor was top notch. A great dish to bring to a party. Recipe included here.
The recipe calls for 3 cups of chopped rhubarb, which cooks down to about 2 cups. However the recipe for the curd only calls for 1 cup of the rhubarb puree. What’s a gal to do with an extra cup of tart, delicious, colorful rhubarb puree…? Make cocktails, of course! I made two cocktails, one for Tim and one for me. Just kidding, they were both for me.
The first drink I made was a Bloody Rhubarb Old Fashioned.
- 2 slices blood orange
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- ½ oz rhubarb puree
- 2 oz rye whiskey
In your rocks glass, muddle together the blood orange slices, simple syrup, and bitters. Then add the rhubarb puree, whiskey, give it a good stir. Top the drink with ice and enjoy!
The drink is boozy, tart, and slightly sweet – some of my favorite things. It also turns out to be a deep reddish hue.
The next drink I made is what I like to call a Millennial Spritzer.
- 1 oz rhubarb puree
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- 4 oz. rosé
- 2 oz. Berry La Croix
Combine all ingredients in a wine glass, stir, add ice, enjoy.
Apparently us millennials are drinking all the rosé in the world, and practically overdosing on La Croix. I chalk it up to the fact that we all have really really good taste.
So, no matter what form Rhubarb takes, it is bound to be delicious: tart, sweet, and satisfying. Sometimes things like stalking vegetables, pink wine, and carbonated water are worth the hype, after all.