Rhubarb Mojitos

Rhubarb is weird, right? It's like sour pink celery, which you'd think would be really divisive, or at the very least accepted as an "acquired taste." But, from where I'm standing, it seems like pretty much everyone is on board—at least when it's baked into a pie with strawberries.

And like everyone else, I love strawberry rhubarb pie. I guess it's kind of obvious: sweet berries + tart rhubarb is a winning combo. (Who else ate gooseberry pie growing up? Why haven't we decided to balance gooseberries with a sweet fruit instead of just pouring a vat of sugar into them? Food for thought.)

One thing you don't get from rhubarb baked with berries, though, is its pleasing shade of pink, which gets overpowered by the strawberries. As I'm always looking for ways to make a cocktail out of something, a rhubarb-infused simple syrup was the obvious avenue to show off this lovely color. (Full disclosure: the color is really the syrup's most prominent trait, as the rhubarb flavor is pretty mild, especially when mixed with lime juice. But in my mind, it's still worth the effort, especially if you have extra rhubarb lying around anyway!) 

Of course you can add the syrup to plenty of other things (seltzer! mint juleps! poured over a pound cake!), but it works so well with lime, mint, and rum. And during this indefinite stay-cation, mojitos give me the (very slightest) illusion of an island vacation. So the next time you buy pie-bound rhubarb (or if like me you are lucky and have rhubarb-growing friends who share their harvests), save a few stalks and make some eye candy.  

Rhubarb Mojitos
Makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz rhubarb syrup (see below)
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
In a cocktail shaker, muddle 1 sprig of the fresh mint with the rum. If you don't have a muddler, use a wooden spoon, and put a little elbow grease into it—this is how you get the mint flavor!

Add lime juice, rhubarb syrup, and ice. Shake until chilled and frothy. Pour into a Collins glass over ice and garnish with remaining sprig of mint (and a stalk of rhubarb if you fancy).

Rhubarb Syrup
Makes 1 cup
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb stalks, chopped (about 6-8 stalks depending on size)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan, bring chopped rhubarb and water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb will break down a lot. 

Strain liquid into another container to remove all the rhubarb solids (aka green-ish slime). Return the liquid (it should be a lovely pink) to a clean saucepan.

Add sugar and cook over low heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. This will only take a couple minutes. Store the syrup in a glass container in the fridge.