One Springy Syrup for a Week of Drinks and Desserts

May  5, 2016

This article is brought to you by our friends at Electrolux as part of an ongoing series focusing on seasonal ingredients. Today: A rhubarb syrup that'll kick up drinks and desserts.

Not until I made Amanda's Rhubarb Orange did I really get rhubarb. It's about coaxing out the flavor, bleeding the stalks dry of what they're not willing to share unless you treat them right. Whether that's through baking, roasting, saucing, compote-ing, or boiling into a syrup, it's your choice.

We're choosing syrup.

The secret to this rhubarb cardamom syrup is to boil the rhubarb until it goes all loose and stringy. You'll want to keep the cardamom pods whole to avoid specks of black or grey floating around in the gorgeously sunset-pink syrup, but feel free to play with the amount you add (4 pods for the cardamom enthusiast, more for the obsessed). Lean over it once the rhubarb goes limp for a big whiff of all of those tart, floral, and slightly sweet notes.

Tart rhubarb tempered with aromatic, floral cardamom. Photo by James Ransom

Over the weekend, stock up on a pound of rhubarb, sugar, lemons, and cardamom pods. Follow the recipe, gather complementary ingredients, and you'll have springy drinks and desserts all week, like so:

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For non-boozy drinks:

  • Add it to sparkling water with a slice of lime
  • Try it in your next batch of lemonade, with fresh herbs or some vanilla bean
  • Drop some into your next batch of switchel

For more, ahem, spirited options:

For frozen desserts:

What fruit are you making syrup from these days? Tell us how you're using it in the comments below!

This article was brought to you by Electrolux, Food52's test kitchen partner. Electrolux is all about great taste and the appliances to help you make beautiful meals in your own kitchen. Learn more here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Chloe
  • Samantha Weiss Hills
    Samantha Weiss Hills
I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Chloe May 7, 2016
Hi there! Quick question- can I use frozen rhubarb for this? I got some a month or two ago and cut it up into 1 inch pieces and threw it in the freezer. Should I defrost it before I use them or can I just put them right in the pot? Or should I really just be using fresh... Thank you!
Author Comment
Samantha W. May 7, 2016
I say go for it! I think you could probably just toss them right in the pot -- it may require a slightly longer boiling time but I would just use the visual cues as an indicator. The rhubarb should be stringy and coming apart before you strain it out. Let me know how it goes!