I first discovered rhubarb on a trip to Minnesota where my husband's grandmother had a plant right outside her door. I'd never seen the thick, bright red stalks before, but after one spoonful of her her famous Rhubarb Johnny I was sold. Fast forward a few years and it's one of the my most anticipated market finds. Rhubarb signals the start of spring—the time when color makes its first appearance after a long winter.
On its own, rhubarb's crisp stalks are quite tart, so they're often sweetened up with a fair amount of sugar. My favorite way to use it is by making a syrup. The combination of sugar, water, and heat break down the fibrous stalks and create a lovely pink syrup that's a nice balance of sweet and tart.
Because I'm often so eager to see rhubarb, I think it's only fair to let the flavor shine. A simple squeeze of lime paired with gin and seltzer provide a bright, slightly herbal base to let the rhubarb flavor come forward. The result is a light, effervescent cocktail that's the perfect way to usher in the beginning of a bountiful season.
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About the author: Kelly Carámbula blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, including a weekly happy hour, on eat make read. She is also the founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food magazine.