Rhubarb Cocktails for Spring
Often baked into pies to balance the sweetness of fruits like strawberries, tart rhubarb—landing in markets now—is a versatile ingredient for early spring cocktails. The vegetable can be made into jam, infused with bitters or squeezed fresh for a diverse mix of seasonal drinks.
Known for using produce like avocados and beets in cocktails at Mint/820—her Latin spot in Portland, Oregon—owner Lucy Brennan cooks a lightly sweetened rhubarb purée for her Rhubarb Cooler, similar to a Tom Collins, with gin, lemon juice and soda. Since its inception, the vibrantly pink drink has become a cult favorite in the area. “People call and say, ‘Is the Rhubarb Cooler in yet?’” Brennan says. A London bartender conceived the first Tom Collins and Brennan’s rhubarb inspiration also came from the UK, where her mother made delicious pies with the bright red stalks. “The rhubarb adds texture,” Brennan says. “It’s not too sweet, not too tart, it’s just fun to play with.”