Rhubarb Sour

This rhubarb sour, a fresh take on the classic sour cocktail, calls for a delightful rhubarb syrup (which can be used for something like 101 different drinks), lemon juice, gin, and a twist.

Rhubarb Sour Recipe

Why a rhubarb sour, you may ask? Because a shot of gin makes everything sour in life go down a little more easily.–Renee Schettler Rossi

What Else You Can Do With Rhubarb Syrup

In the spring, the author makes countless batches of this rhubarb syrup, and, according to her, “many cocktails are born out of it.” We concur. In our cocktail tinkerings, we found that vodka works just as nicely as gin in the sour recipe that follows. The syrup can also be mixed with rum and mint to make a spring mojito. On the non-boozy side of things, add a splash of soda water to the syrup for a rhubarb soda, and if you’re so inclined, dribble in some cream for an Italian rhubarb soda or, even better, plop in a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a rhubarb float. Or pour some prosecco into a flute containing the syrup. We could go on. But we’d rather hear about the brilliant manner in which you’re imbibing this sweet-tart elixir. Let us know in a comment below.

Rhubarb Sour

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes 2 cocktails
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  • For the rhubarb syrup
  • For the rhubarb sour


Make the rhubarb syrup

Place the rhubarb, sugar, water, and your choice of flavorings into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly so the mixture continues to boil gently for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it’s reduced by nearly half. The rhubarb will break down and the liquid will get syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

When the syrup has cooled, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving both the syrup and the stringy rhubarb solids. Transfer the syrup to a storage container with a lid and stash it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. As for the strained rhubarb, it might look stringy and spent, but it’s bursting with a sweet tart flavor that goes spectacularly atop yogurt, muesli, toast, and ice cream.

Make the rhubarb sour

Combine the gin, rhubarb syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 small coupe glasses. Garnish with lemon, if desired.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This rhubarb sour cocktail was refreshing and delicious. The pink color added to the festivities. My coupe glasses are quite old and very small and this recipe made 4 cocktails. I garnished these with a twist of lemon peel, which worked well. Since the gin I had was Hendrick’s, which is already infused with cucumber, I didn't add any other flavorings. The Hendrick’s was fantastic in this.

This rhubarb sour cocktail is lovely and unique. This is a top-notch drink that I would pay top dollar for at an artisanal cocktail bar. The rhubarb syrup's sweet-tart flavor was a perfect partner for the botanical spirit. I used one small cinnamon stick which was perfect. It lent a nice spiced flavor but didn't overpower the rhubarb. When it came time to strain the syrup, the thicker consistency made it nearly impossible to strain through a fine-mesh sieve. The rhubarb had broken down so much that it was basically a puree. My leftover strained rhubarb was an applesauce consistency. It's fabulous. I'm eating it over vanilla ice cream at the moment. I'm also looking forward to having it atop Greek yogurt or slathered on toast with goat cheese. Perhaps I simmered the syrup too long, which created this difficult-to-strain consistency? In the future, I'll try going for a thinner consistency that would allow for straining.


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  1. Flavor is good. I found it has far too much water. I had to boil it down for two hours! I doubled the recipe which may have added to the problem. I would use third to a half of the water.

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