Rhubarb Rose Gin Gimlet

If a sorority could have a drink, they would be wise to choose this one.

Sweet, hyper pink, and packing a punch, this little concoction is a fine addition to anyone's backyard barbecue or next sorority rush party (for those of legal age, of course).

It's rhubarb season, and it's time to start trotting this perennial rhizome out for all of your treacly desserts. Often paired with strawberries (which I will do soon in a dessert, I promise you), this hearty vegetable has a strong, tart, and distinctive taste that makes your mouth pucker and becomes the perfect pairing for sweet prosecco and earthy gin.

In Tara O'Brady's twist on the classic gimlet, that gin and rose's lime juice concoction from the 1950s, one can be sweetly pleased while sipping on some rhubarb in the backyard.  Curious about the origin of the gimlet?  Apparently it comes from The Long Goodbye from Raymond Chandler:

We sat in a corner of the bar at Victor's and drank gimlets. "They don't know how to make them here," he said. "What they call a gimlet is just some lime or lemon juice and gin with a dash of sugar and bitters. A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow."

Certainly, O'Brady strays from the proper, hard-boiled, neo-noir roots of Chandler, she presents a gimlet for the sorority set. And I ain't knocking it.

It almost appears to be a delicate little drink. However, take heed, there are three shots of liquor per glass. Which might be just what you need after a long week. I don't judge.

Happily, I made way too much syrup and had plenty left over to put in glasses of ice-cold sparkling water later.  You know, the next morning, when you need to nurse that headache.


Rhubarb Rose Gin Gimlet
Adapted from Tara O'Brady's Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day

8 drinks

Rhubarb Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces rhubarb, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup water
2 pieces lime peel

Rose water
8 lime wedges
16 ounces (2 cups) gin
8 ounces (1 cup) Prosecco or Cava

1. To make the syrup:  Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb in a heavy saucepan. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the water and lime peel and stir gently. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer until the rhubarb has softened and the juices are thick, about 12 minutes. Discard the lime peel, then strain the syrup into a clean container through a fine-meshed strainer. Use a fork to turn over the solids and to release any trapped juices, but do not press down on them (or the syrup will become cloudy). Set aside the rhubarb for another use (see this recipe for what I did with them). Refrigerate the syrup until it is cold.

2.  To make the cocktails: In a glass of your choice, stir 1 ounce of rhubarb syrup with a few drops of rose water. Squeeze the juice from a lime wedge, then drop in the wedge. Add a handful of ice, pour 2 ounces of gin over the ice and give everything a shake or a swirl. Top with 1 ounce of Prosecco or Cava. 


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