It’s been a busy, busy time here in the last few weeks. Tai has been working overtime, trying to make up for all the lost outdoor time during our incredibly rainy April, and I’ve been drowning in a particularly knotty data analysis with a deadline of earlier this week. Yesterday, we both had a surprise day off, so we took full advantage: the bank, the market and the hardware store were visited; laundry, gardening and bird-feeder hanging happened; my car got inspected, some granola was made, and I finally got around to bottling Tigress’ rhubeena.
In celebration of the glorious weather, and of both of us actually being home and in possession of a couple of hours in which to relax, I decided that cocktails & back-deck grilling were definitely in order. The rhubeena was gleaming pinkly at me from the counter: of course, I had to use her. I first thought of a rhubarbatini, but we were out of vodka. (I know! The shame. Please don’t tell the Bloggess.) But we did have tequila. Not Tai’s tequila, the fancy-pants Patrón, but my tequila, Jose Cuervo, or as Tai calls it, “rotgut” (because, I’m sorry, making a margarita with Patrón is like making a mimosa with Veuve Cliquot: de trop, darling. De trop.). And we had limes in the fridge. It’s like the universe was begging me to make a drink. And who am I to argue with the universe? The Rhubarbarita was born.
A to-do list for your holiday weekend:
- Go to farmer’s market. Buy rhubarb. Realize that all the strawberries were gone by 8:15 am, 45 minutes before the market opens. Swear you will get out of bed earlier next week.
- Make rhubeena. Check out Tigress’ recipe for the full details. Discover recipe for rhubarb krack on her blog. Go back to farmer’s market for eggs and more rhubarb.
- Buy tequila. Rot-gut, please. We’re not fancy-pants here. If you want to be extra folksy, say that it’s for a Pie Plantarita.
- Unearth cocktail shaker from depths of liquor cabinet. You might want to give it a wash.
- Unearth ice from depths of freezer. Just let those freezer-burned cubes go.
- Make rhubarbaritas. Shake vigorously. Attempt fancy Tom Cruise cocktail-tossing manouevre. Spend 15 minutes cleaning rhubarbarita off ceiling.
- Sit on back deck/front stoop/garden hammock. Sigh, loudly and contentedly. Tell yourself this doesn’t suck at all.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone!
Adapted from Rhubeena at Tigress in a Jam
- 2 lbs rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
- filtered water
- sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1 oz rhubeena
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz tequila
- Kosher salt, raw sugar, lime wedges for serving
- Rhubeena. Fill a large, wide stockpot with about 1/4-inch of water. Add the rhubarb, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the rhubarb is mostly disintegrated, about 45 minutes. Position a heat-safe bowl underneath a clean (I pour boiling water through mine) jelly bag and stand, or several layers of dampened cheesecloth in a sieve. Transfer the cooked rhubarb and juice to strain, for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Reserve rhubarb pulp for this or this.
- Measure the rhubarb juice. Transfer to a medium saucepan (rhubarb will foam a lot; give yourself plenty of room in the pot) and add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of juice. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute, then pour into clean, sterilized bottles or jars (I heated my bottles for 10 minutes in a 250 degree oven) to 1/4-inch headspace. If you wish, you may process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for room temperature storage.
- Rhubarbaritas. Combine equal parts rhubeena, lime juice and tequila in a cocktail shaker (or Ball jar!) with ice. Coat the rim of a festive glass with coarse salt (or sugar, for the sweet tooth in your life) by dipping first in water, then in a shallow layer of salt. Add ice, vigorously shake the cocktail, then strain into the glass. Garnish with a curlicue of lime zest or (if your zest stripper is buried in the garage) a slice of lime and a sprinkling of zest.
Two pounds of rhubarb yields about 2 cups of juice and about 2 and 1/2 cups of rhubeena.
- The amount of sugar you add to your rhubeena is entirely optional; in fact, you don’t need to add any at all (although sugar is a preservative, and if not water-bath canning, your storage time of the refrigerated juice may be shorter). Think about how you will use the rhubeena: I thought it was perfectly sweet in these rhubarbaritas; Tai would have been just as happy with something a touch sweeter.
- Over rhubarbaritas on the deck, I was thinking that honey would be a good substitute. While I’m not a huge fan of the taste of honey on its own, I think it would work with the sour tang of the rhubarb. I may have to make another batch. Update: I did make another batch, with honey. I am not a fan. I started with too much (3/4 cup) and the honey flavor overwhelmed the rhubarb flavor and added an overall mustiness that was not appetizing. I rescued it with lots of fennel seed and dried mint, and some additional sugar, but, I would either stick with sugar, or start really low, with 1 – 2 tbsp of honey, and move up from there.
- Can you make a virgin rhubarbaritas? Of course! I think it will be lovely with plain seltzer water and a spritz of lime; or a fancy faux cocktail like rhubeena & orange juice or rhubeena with strawberry syrup & seltzer, or even over shaved ice for the kids. Of course, rhubarbatinis, R & Ts, and even rhubinis (a splash of rhubeena in champagne) are all a good option for a long holiday weekend!
If canned, store at room temperature in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated it should last months (sterilization of the bottle/jar will help here). For extra whimsy, re-purpose your husband’s empty Patrón bottle to store the rhubeena, then sit back and relish his enjoyment of the “Rot-gut Rhubarbaritas.”