Looking for a refreshing and unique cocktail to try this spring? Look no further than this ginger rhubarb gin cocktail recipe. This drink is the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and spicy, making it the ideal cocktail for a warm spring or summer day.
I love when rhubarb starts popping back up in my garden this time of year. It's a fun ingredient to play around with and I've tried it in everything from this rhubarb breakfast cake to rhubarb apple chutney for pork chops.
Do you have a favorite use for rhubarb? You can never go wrong with strawberry rhubarb, of course. If you have a creative idea, I'd love to hear it in the comments.
To make this drink, you'll need just a few key ingredients.
- Gin - Use your favorite variety and you can't go wrong. Pictured here is the budget-friendly New Amsterdam, which has a smooth citrusy, easy-drinking flavor. I think it works well in this cocktail. But in most instances, I enjoy Bar Hill gin, made here in Vermont, which has more fresh botanical forward notes.
- Fresh ginger - We're going to make a simple syrup and use ginger to flavor it.
- Rhubarb - Look for fresh rhubarb at your local farmers market in the spring and summer months. It's in most larger grocery stores seasonally, as well. Or, if you're lucky like me, it'll appear back in your garden each spring.
- Limes - We'll use the juice of limes in the cocktail and some lime slices to garnish.
- Sugar - For making the simple syrup.
- Ginger beer or seltzer - To top off the cocktail. The ginger here is not essential but I like to use it for a bit more punch to the drink. You can use a hard ginger beer (my favorite is the Extra Ginger from local Halyard Brewing, nonalcoholic ginger beer (my favorite is Fever Tree), or a ginger-flavored seltzer, like the lime mule from Polar. If you just want to make this cocktail and have non of these handy, plain seltzer is absolutely fine.
- Mint - As a garnish (optional). Another handy perennial to have in your garden.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
Once you have your ingredients, it's time to start mixing up this ginger rhubarb gin cocktail.
The two main steps that take a little prep time (and can be done hours or even a few days in advance) involve making the rhubarb juice, as well as a ginger simple syrup.
Many recipes will tell you to make a rhubarb simple syrup for a cocktail like this. It would be very easy to combine rhubarb and ginger to make syrup in one step. But I think by doing this you lose a lot of the rhubarb flavor. Or, really, you have to use so much syrup to get the flavor that you end up with a super sweet cocktail.
Instead, we're going to simmer the rhubarb in water, then strain out the solids. That way we can use more of this liquid (rhubarb juice) and get a clear taste of the rhubarb. Meanwhile, we'll make a quick ginger simple syrup.
Another benefit to this approach is that you can use the leftover ginger syrup to sweeten other drinks, like iced tea or coffee.
Begin by washing and chopping your rhubarb into small pieces, then placing them in a pot with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Put in the fridge to cool.
Meanwhile, in another small pot, combine sliced ginger with equal parts sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, and let the ginger infuse for 10 minutes. Put in fridge to cool.
Strain the rhubarb and liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the solids.
Store the rhubarb juice in a jar in the fridge until ready to use.
Make the garnishes. Take a slice of lime and cut part way to the middle. Curve the lime in your hand and use a cocktail pick to secure some mint into the center of the curved lime.
Use a peeler to slice thin ribbons of rhubarb for the garnish in the glass.
Wrap the rhubarb strips around your glass and use ice to help hold them in place.
In a large glass, stir together the gin, rhubarb juice, ginger simple syrup, and lime juice with some ice.
Strain the cocktail into your glass and top it off with ginger beer or seltzer.
Top with the lime and mint garnish and serve.
Hint: Make the rhubarb juice and ginger simple syrup in advance so you have them ready for a quick cocktail at any time. Also - no need to put effort into these garnishes if you're not looking to impress. Just toss a lime wedge and a few mint leaves in the glass and that'll do fine.
One of the best things about this ginger rhubarb gin cocktail is that it's highly customizable.
- Lime - instead of limes and lime juice, you can swap this for a lemon and lemon juice
- Ginger beer - alcoholic or non-alcoholic ginger beer, as mentioned above, both work fine, as does seltzer if that's all you have
- Sweeter - Use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water when making the simple syrup
- Spicier - Double the ginger when making the simple syrup
- Herbier - Try a gin with a strong juniper flavor, such as Bar Hill
The ginger simple syrup will keep for up to a month in a well-sealed container in the fridge. The rhubarb juice, on the other hand, will probably only be good for a week in the fridge. Though you could freeze it and use it within a few months.
Citrus is a perfect complement to rhubarb, which is why I've incorporated lime juice into this recipe. Strawberries are an obvious pairing, as they balance the tartness of the rhubarb with sweetness. Ginger is an ideal addition as it provides a slight spice to the simple syrup without over-sweetening the drink. Too often, people rely solely on sweetness to mask the rhubarb's tanginess, but using ginger instead creates a more nuanced and well-rounded flavor profile.
Yes, that's a great idea. You can use it in place of ginger beer. But look for a ginger ale that isn't too sweet. Many of them are loaded with sugar, and it's just not necessary.
There are gins out that come already flavored with rhubarb. That's cool, I bet they're tasty, but who needs a whole bottle? That's why I like that this recipe can use whatever gin you already have on hand or already like to buy. There are also recipes out there to make your own rhubarb gin by steeping rhubarb with gin. But that takes time and more effort if you ask me.
Looking for other drink recipes like this? Try these:Print