Saturday, May 07, 2016

Life Gives You Lemons (and Rhubarb)? Make Cocktails!

You know what it's like: It's cocktail hour and a gin and tonic would taste really good, but you're out of tonic and all the limes in the fridge are brown and shriveled. Which rules out a gimlet, a caipirinha or a margarita.

But wait…there are lemons, and you just made a batch of rhubarb syrup so your nephew could have his favorite thing at auntie's house, her fabulous rhubarb soda.

Since that was precisely the situation I found myself in the other day, I cast my mind way, way back to the 1990s and what popped into my head was that chichi happy hour cocktail—and the bane of bartenders everywhere—the lemon drop! I simply substituted the rhubarb syrup for the simple syrup and, voilà, cocktail hour was saved. Huzzah!

Rhubarb Lemon Drop

For the syrup:

For the cocktail:
2 lemons, juiced
2 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. rhubarb syrup
3/4 oz. triple sec
Sugar for the rim

For the syrup, wash rhubarb and chop stalks crosswise into 1/2" pieces. Place in saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour rhubarb mixture through a sieve into a medium-sized mixing bowl to strain off solids. Add equal amount of sugar to the strained liquid (you're making a 1:1 simple syrup) and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool. The syrup can be stored in pint jars in the freezer to keep you well-supplied until next rhubarb season.

For the cocktail, make a sugar rim on the glass by slicing partway through a wedge of lemon and running it around the edge of your glasses. Make a mound of sugar on a plate and, inserting the edge of the glass into the mound at a 45° angle, twirl the edge of the glass  fill cocktail shaker 2/3 full of ice and add all ingredients. Shake 15-20 seconds. Pour into sugar-rimmed martini glasses and serve.

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