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A pretty, ruby-pink gin cocktail with crushed ripe strawberries, homemade rhubarb syrup and fresh lime.
Thirsty for a refreshing, grown-up drink with a beautiful balance of fresh fruit and tart citrus?
Strawberry rhubarb gin rickey, coming right up! This spring-inspired fruity concoction is based on an old-fashioned cocktail, the classic rickey.
What’s a gin rickey cocktail?
A rickey is traditionally mixed with a simple combination of gin, lime juice and soda water.
A basic rickey is like a drier (less sweet) version of a gin and tonic.
Imagine how thirst-quenching it would be to sip this drink on a humid afternoon, sitting on a shady porch as the ice melts into the drink and condensation drips off the glass.
The original drink is pretty barebones. I’m guessing the straightforward barman who came up with the rickey in the 19th century didn’t answer to the title of “mixologist.”
There’s a good chance that if you asked for a dash of pretty, pink rhubarb syrup in your drink, he’d probably kick your ass right out of the bar.
Thank goodness for modern times and creative bartending!
Making drinks with seasonal fruit, herbs and whatnot defines what trendy cocktails are all about, for sure. But what’s not to love about that?
I’m all in for the Four Seasons of Cocktails.
How to make a strawberry rhubarb gin rickey:
Mixing up a strawberry rhubarb gin rickey (or two, three or four) is a perfect way to say hello to spring.
- First, you’ll muddle the strawberries — which basically means mashing them up to a coarse puree. That process intensifies the fresh strawberry flavor of the drink.
- Next, add all the remaining ingredients along with some ice.
- Give it a stir and you’re done!
No blending, shaking or straining required. Go ahead and substitute vodka in your strawberry rhubarb gin rickey, if you want. Or even tequila!
I only ask that you chill your bottle of booze in the freezer, so that everything is nice and cold when you take your first sip.
Tips and variations:
- After making the rhubarb syrup, save the rhubarb and puree it. It’s delicious in these rhubarb prosecco Bellinis or in smoothies.
- Make a non-alcoholic fruit soda with sparkling water and some of the rhubarb syrup.
- The best glass to use for mixing this drink is a short, wide one called a rocks, old fashioned, or lowball glass.
- Do you have a muddler? It’s an inexpensive tool and if you love to make drinks with fresh fruit and herbs, it’s essential. You can also just use the end of a wooden spoon instead.
- To make a cute pinwheel garnish with fresh rhubarb stalks, run a sharp paring knife along the long edge of the rhubarb to make thin strips. Roll them up and spear with a pick (thanks to Jayme for the idea!)
Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Rickey Cocktail
- ½ pound (225 g) rhubarb, chopped
- ½ cup (120 g) granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups (300 ml) water
- 2 strawberries
- 2 ounces (60 ml) Rhubarb Syrup
- 2 ounces (60 ml) fresh lime juice
- 2 ounces (60 ml) ice-cold gin
- Crushed ice
- Sparkling water
- Thinly sliced lime wheels, strawberries and thinly shaved rhubarb for garnish
- Make the rhubarb syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to a slow bubble and cook until the rhubarb softens to a mushy texture, about 15 minutes.
- Puree the rhubarb with an immersion blender or small food processor until smooth. Refrigerate until cold. Or if you're very thirsty, chill the puree in a bowl of ice water until cold.
Make the cocktail:
- Put the strawberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle gently. Add 1 cup of crushed ice and the Rhubarb syrup, lime juice and gin.
- Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a splash of sparkling water. Stir once or twice to mix.
- To garnish the drink, thread the lime wheels, a slice of strawberry and coiled rhubarb on a cocktail pick.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Keep the rhubarb syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator up to a week. The recipe makes 2 cups, enough for 8 drinks.
- To make a batch of drinks, multiply the amount of syrup, lime juice and gin into a pitcher and stir. Pour the mixture into ice-filled glasses then top off with a splash of the sparkling water or club soda.