Rhubarb and Rosewater Cocktails
I think the spring and fall months are my favourite. I love the changing colours of each season, from the vibrant red and orange leaves in the fall to the bright green buds on the trees in the springtime. I absolutely love and crave the sense that change is in the air – there's something so spiritually cleansing about that and I think enjoying simple pleasures of the change in seasons is what makes life in Canada so amazing. I don't think that I could live somewhere where the seasons don't change. I mean what would I do without seasonal menu changes?
Mother's Day is coming up, as well as the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, and these Rhubarb and Rosewater Cocktails are the perfect signature cocktail to serve this spring season as we celebrate renewal and all things green and flowery. These cocktails are light and fruity, while the fizz of the sparkling water and the tartness of the rhubarb gives them quite a tasty punch.
Have you ever cooked with rhubarb before? I have only ever been familiar with the traditional rhubarb pie, and have not encountered many recipes using it. You may be surprised to learn that rhubarb is a vegetable with bright green leaves, and the thick red stalks are the edible portion that is grown and sold right here in Ontario. Rhubarb's tartness beautifully offsets sweeter fruits like berries, but it also goes well with ginger and in this case, floral flavours.
Upon doing some more research, I discovered that rhubarb is popular in not just pies, but also tarts, preserves, sauces, compotes, crumbles, chutneys and even wine! In my case, I decided to make a rhubarb syrup that is remarkably easy to make and a delicious, unexpected combo for a cocktail.
I've never made rosewater before, and I technically think that I still haven't done it the traditional way by blending the petals with rhubarb, but it makes for a tasty combination nonetheless with a subtle, flowery flavour that pairs perfectly with the bright and punchy rhubarb. Rosewater can also be used as an anti-inflammatory for your skin, and you can make your own at home using organic or home-grown roses. If you'd like to make your own, you can read this tutorial on Hello Glow!
You can use pretty much any garnish for this cocktail, and I've got a couple of basil plants on the go so I naturally chose a couple stalks to rest in the glass. Mint or even thyme would also be a delicious, fragrant pairing. If you'd like to add a touch more flavour, you can also clap the leaves between your hands before adding them.
Rhubarb and Rosewater Cocktails
- 1 cup vodka
- 4 cups sparkling water
- 1/2 cup rhubarb syrup
- Ice cubes
- leaves Mint or basilto garnish optional
- 4 stalks rhubarb chopped
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 cups water
- 4 large rose petals
- Bring rhubarb, sugar, water and rose petals to a boil a large pot over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes.
- Strain mixture in a fine mesh sieve then set the syrup aside to cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
- Add vodka and sparkling water to a large pitcher. Add rhubarb syrup and stir. Pour into cocktail glasses filled with ice, garnishing with a stalk of rhubarb and either mint or basil leaves.
- Remaining rhubarb syrup will keep in the fridge up to 10 days.