Rhubarb-Ginger Cooler: A Booze-Free Pitcher Drink That's Great for Brunch
We're coming to the end of rhubarb season, and I'm making these last few days count by preparing my very favorite spring crop in every way I can imagine: in a classic compote, to be paired with tart yogurt; roasted in the oven and spooned over pound cake; and simmered into a delicate, rose-pink syrup that I shake into cocktails and stir into pitcher drinks for a crowd.
When it comes to hosting brunches, I tend to reach for the booze, serving loaded Bloody Marys or puckery Greyhounds, but now that my sister-in-law is pregnant I've spent a lot more time thinking about well-crafted drinks that don't need any alcohol to be darned delicious. The key is layering flavors to build depth: while you can just squeeze a lime in seltzer, it doesn't take much more effort to make a drink that's way more interesting.
This bubbly sipper is one of my very favorites: I take ginger beer— for me, the spicier the better—and add a rhubarb syrup that I've accented with fresh ginger, fragrant orange zest, and a few allspice berries for a warm, well-rounded flavor. Plenty of fresh lime juice keeps the drink from straying into too-sweet territory, resulting in a fizzy, refreshing libation that's great alongside French toast or eggs.
Can't resist boozing it up? Slip a little dark rum into your glass for one of the best Dark 'n' Stormies you'll ever try.