Rhubarb Collins – Farmers’ Market Cocktails
“What do you do with all that rhubarb?” Well, be grateful. For our very first CSA in Michigan, the early weeks were all burdock. So much so that we had burdock cook-offs to try and figure out what to do with it. To this day when we can reunite the Michigan grad-school clan, we call it “A Burdock.”
But still: once you’ve had enough rhubarb pie, it’s time for a Rhubarb Collins. This version comes from Gourmet Today, a birthday-gift cookbook that combines classics with the fresh and surprising. With limes and seltzer over ice, the rhubarb cocktail became a kiddo favorite, so much so that my daughter insisted on buying more rhubarb at the Farmers’ Market.
With the gin it became a Facebook favorite once and then twice (photo credit: Sallie Han and NYBG Impressify). By popular demand, here’s the recipe. I’ve looked at some of the other online recipes, but this one just seems better.
Makes 8 drinks / Active Time: 20 minutes / Start to Finish: 2 hours
A collins–just about any spirit combined with lemon juice, sugar, and club soda–is traditionally served in a tall narrow glass of the same name. Likewise, any drink served in a collins glass is often called a collins by default. This tangy pink drink, for instance: it calls for lime, Cointreau, and rhubarb, which complements the taste of gin surprisingly well (without the alcohol, it’s a delicious fruit cooler).
- 2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes), or to taste
- 12 ounces (1.5 cups) gin
- 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) Cointreau* or Triple Sec
- ice cubes
- Chilled seltzer or club soda
- 8 small lime wedges
Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until rhubarb falls apart, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Pour rhubarb mixture into a large fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl and let drain for 15 minutes. Press gently on solids, then discard solids. Skim off any foam, pour syrup into a pitcher, and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour (see Cook’s Note).
Stir lime juice, gin, and Cointreau into chilled syrup. Pour into eight tall 10-ounce glasses filled with ice, stopping about 1 inch from rim. Top off drinks with seltzer. Run a wedge of lime around rim of each glass, then squeeze into drink.
- The rhubarb syrup can be quick-chilled in a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice; stir occasionally until cold, about 15 minutes.
- The syrup can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 week.
- The collins mixture (without the seltzer) can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 hours.
*My first versions did not have Cointreau. I’ll update now that I’ve purchased some.