I got the inspiration for this from the blog Coconut & Lime. There was a post with a recipe for a Rhubarb Soda which sounded so simple and so good. It was one of those “How-can-this-fail?” kind of things. Now most likely, I will be trying this later today. #1 — it sounds delicioso. #2 — there is fresh rhubarb in the house (hopefully there will be some leftover from a rhubarb upside-down cake which will also be happening later today). Plus it’s a perfect accompaniment to a nice outdoor BBQ (after all, it is National BBQ Month).
But since we just had the Kentucky Derby. . . was it the Kentucky Derby?. . . it was the one with the hats and the Mint Juleps. Anyhoo, I thought to myself, “Hey, what about a Rhubarb Julep?” Now aside from the rhubarb part, my recipe strays from the traditional julep in that I add a splash of club soda to give the drink some fizz and to help balance it out. Too often I’ve had mint juleps that have been either too sweet or too boozy (which is weird cuz I do drink bourbon straight). The club soda helps round everything out without just watering the drink down. So you really could think of this as a Rhubarb Soda with some bourbon in it.
So what can I tell you about rhubarb? I actually don’t know a lot, but one website (The Rhubarb Compendium) has a whole gaggle of info. Its roots can be traced back to ancient China with records dating back to almost 5000 years ago, give or take a couple of centuries. It was used for its medicinal purposes, primarily as a, um, cleanser. Today we pretty much consider it a pie plant. But here is a nice way of using rhubarb without having to make a pie.
Here’s what you need for the soda:
- 4 stalks rhubarb (chopped)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- club soda
1. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low until the sugar dissolves. Cook for about 10 minutes to reduce. Run through a strainer, pressing the rhubarb through to get all the syrup.
2. In a glass of ice, pour about 1 T. of the syrup (or however much you want). Top off with club soda and stir.
Here’s what you need for the julep:
- 1 part prepared rhubarb syrup
- 2 parts bourbon
- crushed ice
- tonic water or club soda
Place ice in a glass. Pour about 1 oz. of the syrup over the ice. Add the bourbon. Top off with tonic water and stir.