Here in Italy the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and fragrant and I’m blissfully content to be able to get out in my garden and putter around. I’ve been busy planting all sorts of new plants, trees and bushes. I expect about 25% of them to survive as I have a pretty bad track record in the gardening department. My heart is in the right place but I just don’t have that special touch needed to keep my garden alive and thriving. I’ve been known to even kill lavender which is pretty much impossible in the Italian climate.
One plant that seems resistant to me and my non existent green thumb is rabarbaro (rhubarb). Due to the fact you can’t buy rhubarb in any of the grocery shops or vegetable stalls we planted it a few years ago and it is thriving. I show it off to everyone who comes by our house and apparently it’s known to all to be the fool-proof plant (why didn’t I know this years ago?). Just in the last three weeks our rhubarb has taken over an entire bed and is threatening our beloved strawberry patch.
So to give our strawberries some room to breathe and grow I decided to cut back the rhubarb a bit and make some of my favourite Rhubarb Syrup. I’ve always loved the delicate spiciness it brings to cold summer beverages.
But what I love the most about this syrup is the dainty light peachy rose colour it has. I could design whole summer cottages with that colour as my inspiration and theme. So lovely and reminiscent of warm breezy summer days in Nova Scotia.
Read on for the quick and very simple recipe for Rhubarb Syrup and these delicious cocktails above (which I’m contemplating naming “Jillinis“).
2 1/2 – 3 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup of water
Place all three ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Pour liquid through a mesh sieve (or cheesecloth) into clean jars. Store in fridge. Enjoy.
Rhubarb Cocktails (Jillinis?)
Take a pretty glass. Pour some rhubarb syrup in bottom and add sparkling water (or prosecco/spumante/ginger-ale) and ice cubes. Decorate with fresh berries and lime wedges. Perfect to serve at brunches, lunches, afternoon teas, bridal showers….