Mom’s Rhubarb Punch

Mom's Rhubarb Punch | www.purplehousecafe.com

It might be getting a little too late for rhubarb, but I’m hoping, if you’re anything like me, that you’ve purchased or plucked extra rosy-green stalks and chopped and frozen or boiled down and canned a few to enjoy in the all-too-many months that rhubarb isn’t in season.

So, with that in mind, here’s one last rhubarb recipe from me this year.  It’s one of the things my mom is most famous for, along with chocolate zucchini cake and world-class soil science research.  No biggie, right?  

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Time for a Cocktail: Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup

When I was a kid, this was the time of year that my folks would bring huge bushels of rhubarb in from the garden.  Stalks in a gradient of pink to green would pile up next to the sink for rinsing and processing.  Though occasionally I would run water over the deepest red rhubarb and dip it in sugar for a crunchy, sweet-sour snack, I mostly disliked rhubarb in all its’ manifestations.  The golden meringue-topped pie, the stewed rhubarb over ice cream, even the rhubarb strawberry crisp:  they all seemed like creative means to disguise the bitter plant.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

Recently, though, I was inspired to use local, seasonal ingredients in these doughnuts, and thought I’d see what rhubarb and white chocolate tasted like when mixed into a cool pastry cream.

Well, they were delicious.  A little bit earth-shattering, perhaps.  At least when it comes to my consumption of rhubarb.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

I had some leftover stewed rhubarb from the doughnut production, and thought I’d create a new twist on the lavender mint simple syrup I’d concocted a few weeks ago.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

Here’s what you do:

I took about two cups of the stewed rhubarb (see the recipe here but omit the liquor) and a big handful of torn-up mint leaves and added them to my basic simple syrup concoction:  2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

I heated the mixture until just boiling, and then let it cool.

Though you could strain the syrup out of the rhubarb-y mint slurry you’ve now created with a strainer lined with cheesecloth, I opted for the lazy (cheesecloth-less) route and poured it into my teapot with the looseleaf tea strainer.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

What poured out of my little stainless steel pot made my heart sing!  The pink of the rhubarb had become incredibly vibrant and beautiful – almost coral – and when mixed with a glass of sparkling water it was a gorgeous light pink.  I could taste a slight tartness from the rhubarb with a fresh mint finish.  Neither flavour overpowered the other.

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

This would be the greatest drink for a bridal or baby shower.  It’s incredibly girly and that’s okay.  I’ve been drinking a little rhubarb mint “mocktail” after the babe goes down for the last few evenings, and it’s been the most wonderful treat to end my day.  You could definitely add in a little kick too – maybe a splash of vanilla vodka?

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Mint Simple Syrup | www.purplehousecafe.com