Why It Works
- Tart rhubarb is balanced with sugar and accented with orange zest, ginger, and allspice for a versatile syrup.
- Rhubarb syrup, spicy ginger beer, and a good hit of lime juice combine to make a unique and flavorful drink, without the alcohol.
I'm making the last few days of the rhubarb season 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.
For the Rhubarb Syrup:
2 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-inch section fresh ginger, smashed
2 tablespoons zest from 1 orange
3 allspice berries
For the Pitcher Drink:
2 tablespoons rhubarb syrup
1/4 cup juice from 2 to 3 limes, strained
6 cups (48 ounces) spicy ginger beer, such as Bruce Cost
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges for garnish (optional)
For the Rhubarb Syrup: Combine rhubarb, sugar, water, ginger, orange zest, and allspice in a small saucepan. Heat over high heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook until rhubarb breaks down, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract as much flavor as possible, reserving cooked rhubarb for another use if desired. Rhubarb syrup will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
For the Pitcher Drink: Stir rhubarb syrup and lime juice together in a large pitcher. Fill pitcher halfway with ice and add ginger beer. Stir gently to mix and serve, garnishing glasses with a lime wedge, if desired.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 35g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 34g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||17%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|