I put plans on hold, in fact, I stopped everything just to bring you this gin.
It’s that important — critical, really — rhubarb season is coming to a close all around us, and yet there are still people out there who haven’t infused booze with it.
I was the same until a few days ago, when a friend opened my eyes to the light that is Rhubarb Gin. And now I’m obliged to pass the torch, because this summertime libation is just too good not to share.
The “Original Idea Award” for this one goes to Megan over at Kitsch in the Kitchen. Megan and I met last summer, while she and her family were staying on Pender temporarily, before moving to Boston. Megan is a talented artist and foodie extraordinaire — not only does she share some killer food on her site, but she also handcrafts one-of-a-kind aprons to keep you clean (and looking sexy) while you’re slaving over your own hot stove!
Her latest brainwave was rhubarb gin. As soon as I saw those two words on my Facebook feed, I knew I had this year’s summertime boozy infusion. Last year, in a nod to my younger years, I re-explored the fun of injecting vodka into a whole watermelon. This past winter, I used some of my stash of Pender blueberries to make Blueberry Gin, which made some pretty popular Christmas gifts. Ooh, the colour!
My version of rhubarb gin involves mixing 2 cups of chopped rhubarb with 2 Tble sugar, the zest of 1 lemon & a crushed sprig of mint in a large jar. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes, while the rhubarb juice works it’s magic on the sugar and dissolves it to a sweet syrup. Next, pour 1L of gin over top, give it a quick stir and cap it.
If you’ve got the time, you can actually watch the infusion happen right before your eyes. After a couple of hours, the rhubarb will begin to rise, leaving a pretty pink tint behind.
We called it done after about 48 hours — I had expected to wait about a week, but there was no need. After 2 days, all of the colour had been stripped from the rhubarb, and I felt very sure, instinctively, that the flavour transfer process was also complete. (And yes, I’m sure it was instinct, not impatience, that persuaded me to make the call.)
This is the perfect cool-down to serve on a hot late-spring/early-summer afternoon. I kept it simple, and served my rhubarb gin over ice, with a single drop of vermouth, in glasses rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
Can I interest you in a Rhubarb Crisp Martini?
Delicious! First, a slight tang from the rhubarb, then a little sweetness from the sugar and, finally, the tiniest of kicks in your palate from the cinnamon. If you prefer a slightly sweeter cocktail, you can always add some simple syrup to the shaker — though we didn’t think it needed it.
Of course, there’s one thing that makes a fruit crisp better, and that’s whipped cream — which makes this a Rhubarb Crisp Martini à la mode — for which, there is a house limit of one/night. As a friend said when she saw this picture, “A gin and whipping cream hangover ain’t pretty.” It doesn’t take razor-sharp instinct to know she’s right.