This cocktail epitomizes spring. It is intensely, deeply pink, buoyed by fennel-infused gin and a vivid rhubarb syrup. Finished with a vigorous shake, it is light, just sweet enough, and bordering on dangerous for all its demure qualities. Fresh rhubarb is absolutely critical here – during a rhubarb shortage in April, I made this with frozen rhubarb and the flavor left something to be desired.
Enjoy it on the roof or lounging around in a grassy backyard somewhere warm, watching clouds roll by, and listening to music that makes you nostalgic and happy all at once. Something like The Boys of Summer.
Note: For those of you not fond of the flavor of fennel, it’s pretty mild in this drink. You could also try swapping out the fennel for ginger or orange.
RHUBARB FENNEL FIZZ
Serves about 4
1 pound rhubarb, rinsed and chopped
12 ounces water
1/4 cup sugar
1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
12 ounces gin
1 lemon, thinly sliced
For each drink:
2 ounces gin
3 ounces rhubarb
2 ounces sparkling water
1 lemon slice
First, prepare the gin. Add the fennel to a tall, narrow-mouthed glass jar, followed by about half of the gin. Using a muddler or heavy wooden spoon, vigorously muddle the fennel for a good couple of minutes. Add the remaining gin and stir. Let the infusion sit for at least an hour, although longer is better.
While the gin is infusing, prepare the rhubarb. Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, and cover, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Remove from heat, and strain thoroughly, using a spoon to press the juices from the pulp.
Next, strain the gin.
For each cocktail, mix three ounces rhubarb syrup with two ounces gin and two ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into an old-fashioned glass or small mason jar, add two to three ounces of sparkling water, a few ice cubes, and garnish with lemon. A sante!