A pretty, ruby-pink 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. A rickey is traditionally mixed with a simple combination of gin, lime juice and soda water.
A basic rickey is like a drier version of a gin and tonic — imagine how thirst-quenching it would be to sip one on a humid afternoon 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” and 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.
Mixing up a strawberry rhubarb gin rickey (or two, three or four) is a perfect way to say hello to spring.
First, you muddle the strawberries — which basically means mashing them up to a coarse puree. That process intensifies the fresh strawberry flavor of the drink. Then you 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 for making a Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Rickey:
- 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 rickey cocktail with lime
Yield 1 drink
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.
- 1/2 pound rhubarb, chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 strawberries
- 2 ounces Rhubarb Syrup
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 2 ounces 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. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 15 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer set over a bowl and let the syrup run through. Stir gently to expedite the process, without pressing too hard on the solids because it will cloud the syrup. Cool completely in the refrigerator before using.
- Muddle the strawberries in a short, wide glass until the fruit is crushed. Add the Rhubarb Syrup, lime juice and gin. Stir.
- Put some crushed ice in the glass and 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.