A few years ago, I was lucky to get my hands on a bottle of Morris Kitchen’s rhubarb syrup, and it quickly became my favorite cocktail ingredient. Of course, I haven’t been able to find it since, and while my many attempts at recreating the company’s formula have been far from spot on, I did end up with my own great rhubarb syrup recipe. It even comes with a bonus: The mash that’s leftover from straining the syrup makes a simple, but wonderful, compote.
Now, every spring—when rhubarb is in season—I make a few batches of syrup for my drinks and compote for my toast. And I feel good about the fact that there’s almost no waste (other than the ends and leaves I trim from the rhubarb). Other ingredients that go into the syrup, and thus the compote, include apple cider vinegar and pinches of cinnamon and cardamom.
Rhubarb’s tart flavor helps balance a sweet syrup, and I use the syrup most often in my rhubarb whiskey sour, but it’s great mixed in with just about any alcohol and club soda. It would also be a fantastic mixer for a springy mocktail or pink lemonade.
The smooth compote, with its similar sweet-and-tart flavor profile, is wonderful on bread, yogurt, and ice cream. However, because the whole thing cooks for a little more than an hour, the syrup gets the vibrant pink color of the rhubarb, leaving the compote, well, not exactly beautiful. But please don’t let that turn you off.
The first strain yields about 2 cups of syrup, but if you let it sit in the strainer a while, you’ll get more. And if you feel you need to strain the compote a second time, you’ll get even more syrup. While I haven’t officially tested the refrigerator shelf life of the syrup or the compote, the syrup is good for a few weeks in a covered jar or bottle, and the compote will last at least a week (if you don’t eat it all before then).
- 6 cups (about 2 pounds) rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch cardamom
Have a recipe that results in two products? Let us know in the comments.