Sciroppo di Rabarbaro

8 May


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“).

Rhubarb Syrup

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….


14 Responses to “Sciroppo di Rabarbaro”

  1. grammao May 8, 2013 at 13:21 #

    Adding grated ginger root or a few star anise adds depth and difference to this syrup. I bottle it and put the bottles in the freezer – then it’s Jillinis all winter. Such a delight at Cmastime with prosecco, orange liqueur and syrup.

    • Jillian in Italy May 8, 2013 at 14:47 #

      I wanted to keep the rhubarb syrup pretty simple this time but I was thinking it would be nice to rim a glass with a sugar/candied ginger mixture. In any case, rhubarb and ginger are a good match.

  2. Jaki Morris May 8, 2013 at 13:45 #

    Sounds fabulous. How long does it keep?

    • Jillian in Italy May 8, 2013 at 14:48 #

      I’d say for at least a couple of weeks in the fridge. But I’m sure it won’t last that long Jaki…

  3. Judith May 8, 2013 at 13:58 #

    It’s true that rhubarb grows really well. My sister has lots of them as well and made them into rhubarb crumble muffins. Delicious! Will send her your recipe, because the Jillinis look so refreshing!

    • Jillian in Italy May 8, 2013 at 14:49 #

      Rhubarb crumble muffins sound great. Does she have the recipe on her site? I’ll pop over to take a look. I need some good recipes to use up some of the masses of rhubarb we have!

  4. giova brusa May 8, 2013 at 14:18 #

    Even if I’ve never tried this fruit or is it vegetable before, I think I need one of those Jillinis soon. And I like the tips of “Grammao” above!!

    • Jillian in Italy May 8, 2013 at 14:52 #

      You know, I was actually wondering the same thing about whether it was a fruit or veg. I just googled it and it is actually a vegetable that is used and eaten as a fruit. Now we know!

  5. barbedwords May 9, 2013 at 14:33 #

    Mmmm, it looks delizioso! Wonder if you can grow rhubarb in a pot on a balcony??

    • Jillian in Italy May 9, 2013 at 21:56 #

      I have no idea but I think you should give it a try! At least you could keep it under control by having it in a pot. Let me know if it works!

  6. Stephanie May 19, 2013 at 06:24 #

    Hi Jillian

    This looks really lovely! I will try your recipe 🙂
    See you at the Hive!

  7. luanazampieri May 7, 2015 at 19:47 #

    Ciao! mi piace l’idea dello scioppo di rabarbaro! Ci provo! 🙂


  1. Sciroppo di Rabarbaro | drstarblog - May 8, 2013

    […] Sciroppo di Rabarbaro. […]

  2. Mascarpone Pots with Fresh Berries | Jillian In Italy - June 7, 2013

    […] Last week-end we had some friends over for a Sunday morning brunch.  Luckily the weather was beautiful so after months of cold and rain we could finally sit outside and eat and chat and enjoy the sunshine.  The little kids frolicked in the garden in Gramma-made princess dresses and the parents drank home-made beer and my famous (well not really) rhubarb, lime and prosecco cocktails with fresh mint (see post about those here). […]

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