Rhubarb's bracing acidity and generous fragrance make it a perfect medium for drinks. You cook down a little rhubarb with sugar and a dash of water, season it however you like -- ginger, lemongrass, or why not cardamom? -- strain the mixture, and blend the syrup with sparkling water or, better yet, prosecco.
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Here I added vanilla to the rhubarb and then squeezed a lime into the drink. And as I sit here sipping it on a late April evening when it's still 80 degrees out, I'm pretty happy with my little midnight elixir.
Rhubarb Lime Spritzer
Makes 6 drinks
3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
36 ounces sparkling water or prosecco
6 lime wedges
1. Place the rhubarb, sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Cover and place over medium heat. Simmer until the rhubarb is soft enough to mash with the back of a spoon -- then mash it! Stir in the vanilla.
2. Pass the rhubarb mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much syrup as possible. You should have 3/4 cup syrup.
3. Fill 6 tumblers with ice. Add 2 tablespoons of syrup to each glass. Top with sparkling water (or prosecco). Squeeze a lime wedge into each glass. Give each drink a stir. Then toast to your thirst and happiness.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).