Is there really anything new to say about margaritas? It’s my summer cocktail of choice by a long mile. You’ll hardly see me drinking anything else if margaritas are in play.
So today’s special is Rhubarb Margarita. A vegetable in margarita, you say? Imagine that! Yes, rhubarb is a vegetable – with a split personality. It thinks it’s a fruit! Did I mention I’ve got a whole lot of rhubarb lying around at the moment? I believe I did, a couple of posts ago, which also has rhubarb in it – the Lamb Shank and Rhubarb Tagine. And guess what my next post will also have in it? Surprise! Rhubarb!
What can I say, I am not quite rhubarb-ed out yet! Many of my lightbulb moments come to me when I’m in bed, trying to go to sleep, which goes a long way in explaining my regular insomnia. So that’s what happened with this rhubarb margarita too. We always have visitors down from Derby at Easter, in the form of my brother in law and his family. I was thinking of the menu, and how to use rhubarb, when a lightbulb went off. And that was that. The idea stuck.
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, we have tequila and Cointreau (or Triple Sec) to start with. Then, instead of some straight up sugar syrup and lime juice, we make up some rhubarb syrup and use a little fresh rhubarb juice, for an added kick. A dash of lime juice is optional.
Pretty straightforward, right?
As the rhubarb is a main player, the syrup is a little less sweet than usual, as I wanted to get as much of the rhubarb flavour as possible. Increase the sugar and you have a “proper” rhubarb syrup that you can use as a cordial, like rose syrup, both very common practices in the Middle East. My kids love it.
You’ll have enough syrup for about 4 portions. Save the rest in the fridge for another day, make the cordial as mentioned above or drench your favourite cake.
If you are planning to make a huge amount for guests, get the juicer out. If you’re only planning to make a couple of glasses, it’s not worth the bother. The best thing to do for small amounts is place the rhubarb in a small chopper with a teaspoon or 2 of water and chop it all up. Then strain and squeeze every last drop of the juice out. Of course, feel free to get your juicer out, if you want; mine is big and bulky, so I don’t bother.
I’ve added a little ginger in the syrup and the salt rim. Ginger and rhubarb have a natural affinity with each other, ginger’s sharp, citrusy and strong flavours lift the rhubarb’s tart and sweet nature.
Ready for your cocktail? What’s your favourite kind? I’d love to know, just leave me a comment below.
- 2 parts good quality Tequila
- 1 part Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 1 part Rhubarb Syrup (recipe follows)
- 1 part fresh rhubarb juice (see below)
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice (optional)
- a handful of ice cubes
- lime slices to decorate
- a saucer of fine salt, with no additives
- a generous pinch of ground ginger
- 100g/ half a cup white sugar
- 125ml/half cup water
- 3 large stalks of rhubarb
- a thick piece of fresh ginger, about 2.5cm/1"
- half a rhubarb stalk
- half a tsp water
- Cut up the rhubarb stalks into about 5cm/2" pieces.
- Grate, chop or pound the ginger, don't peel it, just scrub it clean.
- Place everything into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Then simmer for 10 minutes, by which time, the rhubarb would be very soft and pulpy.
- Strain the syrup into a clean jug, pushing down the rhubarb to extract as much of the flavour as possible. For a clearer margarita, don't squash down, just strain the liquid through.
- Leave to cool. You can place it in the fridge, if you like.
- If using a juicer, just juice the stalk.
- If using a chopper, cut up the stalk into 3 pieces and blitz in the chopper.
- Strain, squeezing out all the liquid.
- Mix the ginger and salt together and place in a saucer.
- Run a lime slice all around the rim of a glass.
- Dip the glass rim into the ginger flavoured salt, coating well.
- Place everything in a shaker, and pour into the glass, minus the ice cubes.
- Serve with a slice of lime on the rim.
- Pour the rhubarb syrup into the glass.
- Mix everything else in the shaker and pour over the syrup very slowly. You could do it over a spoon if you like, but it shouldn't be necessary, given the density of the syrup. This second method will create the layers as you see in the image. Serve with a little straw or shaker, with a lime on the rim.