Summertime means summer cocktails. This one tops my list as one of the yummiest―and most versatile―drink mixers around.
I was introduced to this sweet goodness by my friends at Herbal Turtle Farms, who sent us this link from The Splendid Table. It said to fill a glass with ice, and fill it with half tequila and half of this rhubarb and water and sugar mixture. It’s strong…but it’s so good. That right there is perfection in a glass.
After I’d made it two or three times, I came across this pin, which taught me three things: A) this magical nectar is not a new invention, and has in fact been around for a while without my knowing B) it has a name and that is rhubeena and C) it can be canned! What?!
I made it my mission to can the stuff as soon as possible…then we promptly drank all six pints within two weeks. And thus, the pin also taught me that D) It is not worth canning rhubeena because it’s too delicious to keep around for long enough to necessitate preserving.
Uses for rhubeena
If the tequila in the cocktail doesn’t excite you, don’t stop reading! This little concoction makes a great addition to many summery drinks. Pour a splash into a glass of lemonade or mix with club soda for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, or add it to a mojito or mix with coconut rum for a yummy treat. Check out this variation, where it becomes a Rhubarb Limeade Fizz. Or just pour a little bit into a plain old glass of ice water with a lime wedge to make hydrating yourself little bit fancier.
And that’s just off the top of my head. Wait until you have this stuff in your fridge, you’ll want to put it in everything.
How to make rhubeena
Start by dumping with a big pile of chopped rhubarb into a large pot. Using a measuring cup, cover the rhubarb with water while keeping count of how much water you’re adding. The recipe from Splendid Table calls for using one part sugar to one part water; I’ve found that you can get away with a bit less than that if, like me, you like the rhubarb’s natural tart taste. With that in mind, adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.
If you’d like, you can also zest some limes into the pot and squeeze the juice in; however it tastes great with or without the lime.
Put the pan on your stove and simmer until the rhubarb falls apart; this usually takes about a half an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks like the picture below. The color is not pretty, and you might think, what is Michelle getting me into? But wait, grasshopper. Keep going.
Dump the soupy rhubarb mixture into a strainer that’s been lined with cheesecloth to separate the nectar from the pulp. Let it drain, then squeeze out the last of the juice. NOTE: Save the rhubarb pulp! It may not look like much, but I’m going to show you next week how to make it into something extra delicious.
The remaining nectar in the bowl will be the most beautiful shade of deep coral, you’ll wonder how it was able to hide in the soupy brown mess that was the boiled rhubarb. But it did. And you, my friend, are now equipped to kick back and have yourself a drink.
Recipe adapted from Rhubarbarita by Katherine Whitestone, on The Splendid Table
Chop rhubarb into pieces and put in a pan.
Cover with water and sugar, with a ratio of two parts water to one part sugar (adjust sugar to your taste). If desired, add lemon zest and juice.
Simmer until the rhubarb falls apart into threads, then strain through cheesecloth.
Store the rhubeena (rhubarb juice) in an air-tight container in the fridge. Reserve the rhubarb pulp for other uses.