A sweet, tart, and perfectly pink cocktail

A harbinger of spring in the Arctic, rhubarb is the base of this pretty pastel concoction

Photo: Emily Vikre
Simply whirl raw rhubarb with sugar and hot water in the blender to create a fresh syrup that can then be used for making soda, topping with champagne, and creating this version of a gimlet.

Emily Vikre
Duluth, Minn.

In an arctic region, there are few things that say spring has finally come more than the arrival of rhubarb. Growing up, we had one, only semi-obliging, rhubarb plant in our yard. Every year I would wait anxiously until the moment—usually not until June—when the days were long enough and the rhubarb was tall enough to pull stalks for making two of my favorite desserts in the entire world, rabarbrakake (rhubarb cake) and rabarbrasuppe (rhubarb soup). The few remaining stalks we would pull up and eat raw, dipping each bite into sugar, just as my mom had done as a little girl, and her mom had done before her.

Now, as an adult, I am lucky to have what can only be described as a small rhubarb farm in my backyard: a span of vigorous plants that produce stalks as tall as my three-year-old starting in May and lasting through August. I can make all the cake and soup I please and still have plenty of rhubarb left for tortes, pies, jams, chutneys, ice cream, and sauce.

I’ve also discovered the joy of rhubarb in cocktails. Last spring I whipped up a batch of super fresh rhubarb syrup by blending raw rhubarb with sugar and hot water. It quickly became a go-to recipe, perfect for making soda or for topping with champagne for a springy brunch drink. But my favorite is to add it to gin and lime for a fresh, sweet-tart take on a gimlet.

Photo: Emily Vikre

Rhubarb Gimlet
2 oz. good quality gin
1 oz. rhubarb syrup* (bump this up to 1.5 oz. if you like a less tart drink)
¾ oz. lime juice

*Rhubarb syrup
8 oz. rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

*To make the rhubarb syrup:

Add rhubarb and sugar to a blender. Pour in boiling water. Cover and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, gently pressing on the solids to release all the juice.

The syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or two. And if you don’t mind the slightly fibrous texture, you can even use the leftover solids as a kind of rhubarb compote.

This article originally appeared in the April 21, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.