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

FRESH! Mint and Lavender Simple Syrup

The Halifax Food Bloggers (find us on Facebook or Pinterest!) are doing a monthly “challenge,” whereby we all make or sample some foods based on a theme and then blog about it.

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This month’s theme is FRESH!

I couldn’t think of anything fresher than mint.  Which is pretty darn fresh.  So, I guess I hit that nail on the head, no?

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I also recently picked up some culinary lavender from my local Farmer’s Market, along with a bag of fresh (fresh!) mint, so I decided to make this simple syrup.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it with tonic water in a tasty, refreshing (fresh again!  get it?) drink as spring springs outside my windows.

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Here’s what you need:

2 cups water

2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup dried lavender flowers

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

Here’s what you do:

Combine all the ingredients in a pot over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved – this takes about 2 minutes.  Don’t let the mixture boil!

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool before using a strainer and/or cheesecloth to strain out the lavender flowers and mint.

Serve mixed with sparkling water, over ice cream, as pancake syrup…the list of possibilities is endless!

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Recipe courtesy of http://seasonsfromscratch.blogspot.ca/2012/04/lavender-flower-and-mint-simple-syrup.html