Are you up to your ears in rhubarb?! I know I sure am, not that I’m complaining, because it means I can make a lot of rhubarb-honey syrup. I like to have it on hand all spring for dressings, desserts, and cocktails! Recently, I used it to create a featured cocktail for a secret supper in the valley a few weeks ago. A dear friend asked if I’d cook a spring-inspired meal on her family’s farm in Minnesota, and it was a magical time.
It had been a few years since I’d been there, and I was delighted to learn her dad grew pollinator prairie. What serendipitous timing, given our own new adventures as beekeepers. As a result, I knew I had to incorporate honey and flowers into the dinner. The theme was all things local and all things spring. Things like asparagus, rhubarb, honeybees, fresh eggs, green garlic, foraged mushrooms, young herbs, and pollinator flowers. I love creating a meal based on a theme and using the same ingredients in different ways for multiple courses.
For example, the salad featured a rhubarb vinaigrette, and for dessert, we served rhubarb orange blossom baklava with pistachio ice cream and honey drizzle. Therefore, I wanted to start the night off with a cocktail that incorporated this rhubarb-honey syrup. To play on the pollinator prairie, I added a tiny bit of gifted lavender essential oil to the mix. My friend who gifted the oil suggested a very small amount. Because I made a huge batch for the party, all it took was 2 drops of lavender oil. If making an individual cocktail, I’d suggest using a toothpick to infuse the oil rather than drops, as a little goes a long way.
Botanical gin like Hendricks was a no brainer, and topping it off with bubbly brut champagne was a given. If you’d like to make ahead, simply multiply the recipe below by number of drinks you plan to serve. Mix all of the ingredients ahead of time, except for the champagne, and keep refrigerated. When you’re ready to serve, fill a shaker with ice, then your pre-mixed cocktail, and shake away babe. Pour about 2 ounces into a flute glass and top with champagne. Garnish with an edible flower or petals, like apple or citrus blossoms. Shortly after our apple trees dropped their flowers, my little meyer lemon tree was in full bloom, which was perfect timing.
And thus, the Sparkling Spring Pollinator cocktail was born. It’s cheerfully tart, somewhat floral, barely sweet, and refreshingly sparkling, which turned out to be a winning combination. I keep needing to re-stock our fridge with rhubarb-honey syrup, so this cocktail is simply some ice and a shaker away from a spritely glass and monkeying around. Cheers to you, my frands, and cheers to the weekend. We’re too busy sippin to put anybody down!