Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rhubarb Raspberry Gin Fizz and a Summer Cocktail Book

My day job for the past year has been Executive Producing a weekend morning talk show on Arise TV. Last winter I was pitched a cocktail book called Winter Cocktails by the fabulous Maria del Mar Sacasa and gorgeously photographed by Tara Striano. The pitch was for my blog. The publisher had no idea I was a TV producer. 

When I received the book, I was bowled over by the scrumptious recipes and stunning photographs. With recipes like pumpkin bourbon eggnog and salted caramel hot chocolate, I immediately knew I had to put Maria on our show for a winter cocktail demo. She arrived on the day of the show looking stunning. Not only was she ├╝ber prepared for the segment, but also provided marvelous decorations for the demo table showing off her formidable stylist skills. Here is the segment. The staff and crew were thrilled with the demo cocktails she left behind. 

Don't judge. Hey, it's a morning show. 10:30am on a weekend is the end of our work day.

Anyway, it all went well and I was waiting to see what amazing concoctions she would come up for her next book, Summer Cocktails. It did not disappoint. Also photographed by Ms. Striano, each page of recipes seem to out do the one before. 

Both books are extremely comprehensive and mix classic cocktails with compelling new concoctions, like the Bee Sting consisting of honey liqueur and champagne and a sensuous version of Sex on the Beach called La Playa containing seasonal peaches and Campari. The book also covers everything from what you need in your fridge to tools and serve ware. All kinds of tutorials are included.

I was seasonally inspired by the book. After seeing different versions of rhubarb syrup in various German cooking magazines, I settled on making a large batch of rhubarb raspberry syrup to have on hand to create my own cocktails.

The easiest thing to do, like Maria's Bee Sting creation, is to add the syrup to prosecco or champagne. Things turn a bit more serious when crafting cocktails. 

The syrup is so flavorful, it also works well in non-alcoholic drinks. For a mocktail, I mixed the syrup with seltzer, squeezing a bit of fresh lime juice into the glass and used a lime wheel for garnish.

For an alcoholic concoction, I tried my hand a reinventing a gin fizz and was pleased with the results. The sweet/sour syrup works perfectly with gin. Fresh mint adds a great flavor accent for this seasonal cocktail.

Rhubarb Raspberry Gin Fizz

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • Splash rhubarb raspberry syrup*
  • pinch of sugar
  • Club soda
  • fresh mint and raspberry for garnish
  • Crush two or three mint leaves and place them in the bottom of the glass.
  • Shake the gin, rhubarb raspberry syrup and sugar together and pour into the glass.
  • Top off with club soda, swirl and garnish with mint leaves. 

Rhubarb raspberry syrup:

  • 3 pounds of fresh rhubarb
  • 3 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 2 + 1/4 cups white granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 

  • Wash and dry the rhubarb. Trim off all the leaves and but the stalks into small pieces. Wash the raspberries and pat dry.
  • Place 8 + 1/2 cups of water in a large saucepan, add the white granulated sugar and bring to a boil. 
  • Add the fresh rhubarb pieces and raspberries. Cook for 30 minutes or until the rhubarb has become completely soft. 
  • Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth back into the saucepan. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and cook for another 10-15 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat and strain once more. 
  • Place a funnel into a clean 24-ounce bottle. Strain the hot liquid once more through a cheesecloth into the bottle. 
  • Seal the bottle and refrigerate.

1 comment:

  1. Lora, I love the sound of both the winter and the summer cocktails - your video of Maria's presentation is great - what a cool show! I'm not normally into cocktails but on a Monday morning here and sun shining, I'm starting to think of parties to throw... I'm inspired with this gin fizz and that rasp-rhubarb syrup for cocktails sounds delicious.


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