Cocktail Roundup

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Gin & tonic with rhubarb simple syrup.

I’m primarily a wine drinker. Red in the winter. Rosé in the spring. White in the summer. Sparkling all year ’round.

But there’s something about warm weather and patio sitting that screams “cocktail time”. After getting home from work and walking the dog, I’ve been making myself a cocktail and going out to the patio. Sipping a drink in the sunshine has become one of my favorite parts of the day and I look forward to trying out new cocktail recipes. So here we go: Rhubarb gin & tonics, Negroni Radlers, and cucumber margaritas. 

Rhubarb gin & tonic

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Cooking rhubarb simple syrup.

I’m lucky enough to have rhubarb growing on the side of my house. It was there when Chef Boyfriend moved in and we’ve never actively gardened it. But still, the rhubarb grows. For a few years now, I’ve been at a loss as to what to do with it. I’ve made strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry rhubarb crisp (or as CB calls it “blubarb crisp”), and jam. I’ve never been 100% in love with any of these.

This year, rhubarb simple syrup. It’s so easy. So very easy that I forget why I don’t make more infused simple syrups. You need three things:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Chopped rhubarb

Put equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pan and add the chopped rhubarb. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is soft. Strain through a mesh strainer making sure to press out all the syrup from the rhubarb. And be sure to save the cooked rhubarb; you now have some rustic rhubarb jam that goes great with a little toast and brie.

Do you need a recipe for a gin & tonic? I hope not. But here you go:

low ball glass & ice

1 shot gin

1 shot rhubarb simple syrup

top with tonic

DRINK!

This cocktail pairs best with fading sunshine, your backyard patio, and a great conversation partner.

Negroni Radler

I apparently didn’t get the memo about it being Negroni week earlier this month. I love Negronis. I had never had one prior to our trip to Italy in 2012, but couldn’t get enough of them. I found this list of Negroni variations and tried out a few. And my favorite: The Negroni Radler.

If you’ve never had a Stiegl Radler, you’re missing out. A low-alcohol beer with grapefruit soda, it’s a fantastic summer beer choice. It’s certainly not for everyone. It’s tart and sweet and because of it’s low ABV (2.5), it takes some serious effort to get drunk, if that’s what you’re into. But they’re tasty. And refreshing. And when you add Campari & gin to it, you’re doing summer right.

Grab yourself a low-ball and some ice. Then add:

1 1/2 oz Campari

1 1/2 oz gin

And top with Stiegl Radler

Chef Boyfriend, a 3-legged dog, & some Negroni Radlers.

Chef Boyfriend, a 3-legged dog, & some Negroni Radlers.

Cucumber Margaritas

Sometimes when I’m having a tough day at work, I peruse recipes. Ok, not sometimes, a lot of times. This week, I wasn’t even looking for anything but saw this recipe from the James Beard Foundation on Twitter. It’s a Rick Bayless recipe and damn, that man knows a cocktail. It’s dark and rainy today and I definitely needed this drink to brighten up my weekend.

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Cucumber, lime juice, simple syrup, tequila. Boom. Margarita.

First, grab your blender. You’ll need to peel a cucumber, seed it and chop it into medium-sized pieces. Then, squeeze enough limes for 1/2 cup lime juice. Add both to the blender.

Make your simple syrup. 1/2 C water, 1/2 sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly and add to your blender. Liquify.

Add 3/4 C tequila. We happened to have El Jimador Silver in our downstairs bar, but other excellent choices would be Herradura Añejo or Reposado, or maybe even a nice Mezcal. I think the smokey flavor would balance nicely with the clean, crisp flavor of cucumber, but to be honest I’ve never tried Mezcal in a margarita before. Maybe next time…

Blend and put in the fridge to chill. When you’re ready to drink, you can add ice directly to the blender and make a frozen margarita, or simply pour over ice. I’ve been thinking of making a big batch of these and just leaving the mix in the fridge for a mid-week margarita with zero prep.  You can obviously salt the rim of the glass, but I like to just throw a pinch of salt in the glass.


If you have any fun summer cocktail recipes, send them my way! I’d love to try them and Chef Boyfriend is always game for new and interesting drinks. Cheers, friends!

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