Spring Drinks

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It has been a while since I wrote about a cocktail on these pages. What’s wrong with me? Am I avoiding the word mixology?

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This little beauty features rhubarb juice, a juice I didn’t know existed. At least I had never given it any thought. You puree a bunch of rhubarb in a food processor and then strain it through cheesecloth. You get a mind-blowing amount of juice. Like, basically rhubarb are all liquid. It is crazy! Science! Anyway, you get a measuring cup full of ruby-red liquid (or not, depending on the color of your rhubarb). You need to let the liquid sit overnight so that the pulp can sink to the bottom and then you pour off the crystal clear red juice and discard the sediment. Then, you make this very delicious drink.

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The recipe is from the new Franny’s cookbook, which it is fair to say I am obsessed with. All of the warmth and good vibes of Franny’s are captured in the pages of this beautiful book. I am guessing the always-wonderful Melissa Clark had a lot to do with the success of this book, as she so often does. I want to make everything in it: pizza, pasta, gelato!

I started with this cocktail to calm my nerves and celebrate spring. Cheers!

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Rhubarb Bridge (recipe from Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark)

  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Aperol
  • 1/4 to 1/2 ounce simple syrup or more to taste

In a food processor, puree the rhubarb until smooth. Pour the puree into a strainer lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and very firmly wring out the rhubarb to release all of the juice. Discard the solids.

Let the juice sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, then strain off all of the red juice that has separated out on top and discard the sediment at the bottom. The reserved juice will keep for 3 days.

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice cubes. Add 1 1/2 ounces of the rhubarb juice, the vodka, Aperol, and simple syrup and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*** The recipe makes enough of the juice for several (4-6?) cocktails.

***I think it is a good idea to store the rhubarb juice in a liquid measuring cup overnight. It allows you to see that the sediment has landed and also to easily pour off the juice on top.

***For all of you vodka snobs out there, get over it. No, you cannot use another alcohol in this recipe.

30 comments to “Spring Drinks”

  1. I would like to drink this. Right now.

  2. What. I need to make this! And as someone who’s not generally a fan of vodka, there is hope! Not all vodkas are overwhelmingly vodka-y — I think it’s just about finding one that suits you. I personally love using Prairie vodka in my cocktails when a sub just won’t do. :)

  3. Nice! Love this idea, a natural libation – intriguing and delicious sounding.

  4. I don’t drink, but I love the idea of rhubarb juice + syrup + sparkling water. this is a revelation! p.s. your mixology line made me laugh.

  5. For sure I want to make this drink for our next cocktail night…

  6. Rhubarb has long been underrated,so it’s always nice to see this – something most of us haven’t seen (much less tasted) before. Cocktails as of late are becoming so interesting and creative. That’s mixology for you…it’s evolving like crazy.

  7. What a great idea! This sounds refreshing and I absolutely love Aperol.

  8. This does sound divine. I’ve been trying rhubarb in all kinds of different ways this spring, but I have yet to try rhubarb juice. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. I tried roasting rhubarb this week, but it didn’t really work out. I should’ve made this instead! Please make another cocktail for us soon. :)

  10. Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers says:

    June 5th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    These are my favorite of your photos to date, Tim. The droplets squeezing through the cheesecloth are stunning.

  11. I want someone to make this for me! Way too lazy to remember the day ahead to juice my rhubarb, but it looks beautiful!

  12. So looking forward to trying this!!! Also, way to call out the vodka snobs right away – awesome :) I’m assuming you’ve read Boozehound? Total vodka snobbery that has just further enabled my husband in his vodka snob status.

  13. So pretty! And more importantly, so boozy! It’s times like these I’m thankful for living by the motto, “It’s already noon somewhere.” Thanks for this recipe; it’s on my list of things to make before rhubarb goes out of season again!

  14. I totally forgot the book came out! I didn’t get a chance to test this particular recipe, but working on this book was SO much fun because everything tasted so good!! Love Franny’s food and glad you’re enjoying the book!

  15. Ms. Morgan Leigh says:

    June 7th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    It’s also been awhile since you shared some recent acquisitions. I love those posts!

  16. This looks great! Q: Would it work just as well to juice the rhubarb in a juicer?

  17. Love the idea of making a rhubarb juice first. I just did a shrub with rhubarb, but I’d never thought to just puree the stuff.

  18. Hey, Tim, how are you?
    I am running a culinary tour in Umbria in July. http://www.artworkshopintl.com/rw/wsDtITL2.aspx?wsID=81
    Since you were oh so kind to plug my One Sweet Cookie Book, I am happy to give your readers a discount. Many thanks, Tracey

  19. And THIS is why I should have planted a red-stemmed rhubarb variety – mine is mostly green, which I’m guessing will make for a sorta brownish cocktail with the Aperol? Might have to try it anyway. Discovered Aperol spritzes on a visit to Italy, but this takes it to a whole new level – will definitely be trying this once I’m done being productive for the day. Alternately, any recommendations for a green or yellow alternative to Aperol?

  20. Made this over the weekend when the temperature hit 109! here in Sacramento. It was delicious and pretty and everything I wanted in a cocktail. We shook it until there will little shards of ice floating on top. Perfect!

  21. I’ve made rhubarb simple syrup before, but never juice! Very cool!

  22. whoa. this looks awesome.

  23. Thanks for sharing, this looks great! Would Campari be a good substitute for the Aperol?

    Thanks!

  24. That picture of you squeezing out the juices looks awesome! So you don’t have to cook the rhubarb at all? It looks delish!

  25. Jill O'Connnor says:

    June 15th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Instead of using a food processor, could you just use a juicer for the rhubarb?

  26. Hi Jill- I’m not sure. I have never used a juicer.

  27. Hi Tim,

    I made this tonight & my puree looked nothing like your photo (which is gorgeous). Mine was more the color of a bad mauve 80′s prom dress. I didn’t get beautiful crimson droplets like you did. The liquid is in the fridge in a glass container and I’m hoping for the best. Any advice?

    Thanks. I love your site!
    Dorothe

  28. Hi Dorothe! My guess is that your rhubarb just wasn’t as red as mine was? The color is going to depend on the rhubarb. But as long as it is in the pink range, you’ll be fine because the Aperol is red…it will boost the color. Also, it might brighten up after the sediment settles.
    And for the record, green rhubarb will still work here, but the color won’t be nice.

  29. Rhubarb cocktails – love the red! So festive!

  30. I found out* that freezing rhubarb breaks down the structure and lets you press out the juice easily without cooking or pureeing. It’s also clear, so you don’t need to separate it later. I freeze cubes of it in ice cube trays and stash it for the sadly rhubarb-less months of the year.

    *My brother, who rarely cooks more than a minute steak, shared this with me unexpectedly at a family dinner. I have to assume he once fell asleep watching Alton Brown.

What do you think?