Friday night is cocktail night at our house thanks to my husband Charlie, a master mixologist, and those of us who eagerly gather each week to taste. This week we decided to try our hand at a mostly local cocktail. We’ve been working on a drink using rhubarb and now I think we’re on to something special. Charlie likes to use lots of fresh ingredients and his drinks are incredibly healthy, or so we like to tell ourselves.
We have rhubarb in our garden but you can also buy it now at the Farmers Market. The first step in this cocktail is to make the rhubarb juice. I was inspired by Kate Zuckerman in her beautiful book, The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle. She uses the juice for a fruit soup, but since it’s Friday my mind is on a cocktail instead.
Start out with 8-10 medium stalks of rhubarb. Wash, trim off the ends, and chop into 1/2″ pieces.
In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, 11/2 cups water and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from the heat and let it sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
Drape cheesecloth over a strainer and set over a bowl. Pour the rhubarb into the strainer and let the liquid drain for 15 minutes.
The next step is to mix the drink. In keeping with the local theme, we used Aviation Gin which is batch distilled in Portland, OR. Fill each glass with cracked ice. Pour in 2 oz rhubarb juice and 2 oz gin for each drink. Top off with tonic to taste and stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and make a toast to Friday night.