Rhubarbatism

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Change is good, but there’s something to be said for survival of the fittest and letting the best man, woman, dog, or cocktail concoction win.

And we’re pretty set in our ways when it comes to margaritas. Good tequila, orange liquor, and fresh lime juice, with ice cubes and salt on the rim. It’s that simple.

But we do love rhubarb, and this sounded interesting. And it was darn good. But as good as the classic? Well, no … but still worth making once a summer, I guess. Serve it in plastic cups on a hot day when you’re going to be sitting around outside.

I used four stalks of rhubarb, and got a good quart of rhubarb syrup. That would make drinks for a moderate gathering, but don’t fret if you don’t use it all at once. The simple syrup goes well with iced tea or seltzer as well.

The Rhubarbarita, originally from the Splendid Table via the Greasy Spoon.

Ingredients: rhubarb, water, sugar, tequila, lime juice.

Your measurements may vary, but here’s how it worked for me:


I started with one cup of water and half a cup of sugar. Bring the water right up to boiling in a large pot, then cut the heat and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved.

I had four largish stalks of rhubarb, so that’s how much I used. I didn’t measure them, though, after chopping them into chunks, so I have no idea how much by volume (or by weight, for that matter) I had, but it doesn’t really matter. Just chop up what you have and add it to the simple syrup. You want the water to just cover the rhubarb, and in this case, it didn’t. So, I measured water by the quarter cup and added it until it did, and then added half that much sugar.

(Most recipes call for over-sweetening the rhubarb, so I was a bit stingy measuring the sugar, never quite getting a full scoop each time.)

Bring the pot back to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, and let it do its thing for 15-20 minutes or so, until the rhubarb is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Then allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

(The Splendid Table recipe doesn’t call for this step, but I then went at the whole thing with a potato masher for a minute or so, just to get all of the flavor out of the rhubarb.)

Place a fine-mesh colander over a large bowl, or line a colander with cheese cloth, and pour out the rhubarb mush, collecting the liquid. Use a large spoon or the bottom of a tumbler to press out as much of the liquid as you can. Transfer to a bottle.

Now mix your drinks. Their starting point is half tequila, half rhubarb syrup, with a splash of lime juice, but I think you’ll need a lot more lime. So try 3 ounces tequila, 1 ounce rhubarb, 1 ounce lime, and then shift and adjust from there.

Step out into the hot sun, wipe your forehead with a bandanna, and take a sip. Cheers!

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4 Responses to Rhubarbatism

  1. My rhubarb is growing like crazy. Instead of a cake I could make a drink. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So this is a rhubarbarita… I'm definitely interested and am kinda wishing someone would drop off some homegrown rhubarb at my door so I could give it a try. A nice drink would taste mighty good at the end of a long hot day.

  3. muddywaters says:

    I agree with your assessment. I used less sugar and I a lot more lime. It is a pretty drink.You did a great job with your pictures on this one. You captured the process.I tried some syrup in iced tea, but it was too sweet for me. I never quite found another use for the syrup. I guess, you could reduce it and use it as a sauce. I wonder if pork and rhubarb would be a good pairing.I'm at a point in my cooking where I want to do more with sauces and pairing flavors.

  4. Leftovers: I mixed it with seltzer for a homemade rhubarb Shasta.

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