Summer Syrup Fun with Cocktails & Drinks

Summer is time for experimenting.  Stepping out and trying new things.  Whether travel, food, adventure related- you name it- changing things up can inject the spirit with excitement. My recent interest is connected with liquid food: shrubs and syrups.

Not being one who consumes much hard alcohol, I don’t know a thing about mixed drinks.  I understand the classic gin martini and a well-made side car, and do drink them on occasion.

Now shrubs and syrups keep popping up.  Shrubs surfaced as early at the 15th century and I imagine simple syrups go as far back, if not farther.  Both are a buzz in the cocktail world with mixologists making their own fancy versions.   For me, various friends and articles piqued my interest, especially with syrups.

So what kind to make?

Rhubarb- not a common vegetable- intrigues me.  It was one of those things I remember my dad raving about.  How he loved his strawberry rhubarb pie!  The same combo but in the form of jam was my intro into the world of rhubarb last year.  I fell in love with it too.

A stalk of rhubarb


A jam with rhubarb on my list until I read about rhubarb syrup and it’s use in cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.  What’s really appealing about this syrup is using the leftover vegetable mash to make preserves.  That’s double the enjoyment for half the price.

I’m finding a variety of ways to use it.  In fact, I’m almost out so I’ll have to grab it while I can.  Rhubarb season is ending and I want to have some for holiday gifts.

This is how I’ve used it thus far:

  • Stirred it into sparkling water for an afternoon refresher.
  • Drizzled it over vanilla frozen yogurt.
  • Mixed it into creamy goat cheese for a fruit tart base.
  • Boiled it down to thicken and used it to glaze seared scallops.

(Shhhh- sweetened the hubby’s smoothie with it to mask the taste of added spirulina powder.)

Have other ideas?  Love to hear them!  If you’re interested in learning more about shrubs, head over to Munchie Musings for a lesson with Catherine.


How to Make Rhubarb Syrup

This syrup has a thinner consistency.  You can boil it down to further concentrate if desired.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 – 30 minutes


4 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cups sugar

4 cups water


Put rhubarb in a stock pot with sugar and water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb gets soft and a little mushy.  Strain the solids from the liquid and set aside to make jam.  Put the liquid in glass jars with a lid (mason work well).  It will keep in the refrigerator for two to three months.

You can also can the syrup, water bath processing it for 10 minutes.

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