Savor the first drops of summer with a Strawberry Rhubarb Champagne Cocktail.
I remember the first time I tried rhubarb — I was on my aunt and uncle’s farm. My aunt made me a rhubarb pie with fruit from her garden, and it was stunning and life-changing. I’ll never forget those first tastes of sweet-and-sour, tart-and-tangy flavors tucked inside a flaky pie crust. There is just nothing like a strawberry rhubarb pie in the late spring / early summer, if you ask me.
Often the filling for a strawberry rhubarb pie is made on the stove by stewing together the rhubarb stalks, strawberry slices, sugar and water to make a thick mixture. It’s then poured into a pie crust and topped with a lattice design before baking. I love it served with a layer of custard, whipped cream or plain vanilla ice cream.
For this Strawberry Rhubarb Champagne Cocktail, I drew upon the flavors of that very pie. To make it, you’ll start with a strawberry rhubarb simple syrup made from that same stewing process as used in the pie version. The result is a syrup that you can top with bubbly champagne or prosecco for a stunning libation. (You could also use the syrup in a mojito or margarita, though! Get creative, I say.)
The best part of this cocktail is that you can get a head start on the recipe ahead of a party. Fill a few coupe glasses or champagne flutes with a tiny bit of the syrup, then gingerly top with chilled champagne and a strawberry slice for garnish. The soft pink hue looks almost like a rosé wine, but I promise this cocktail is way more fun and seasonal. Plus, it has that scratch-made, pie-like charm.
Strawberries and rhubarb are nearing the end of their season, so head to the farmers’ market and hop on this cocktail one of these soon! // susannah
A sweet summer cocktail using fresh ingredients
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
- 8 stalks rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 10-12 strawberries, halved
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 ounce rhubarb simple syrup
- 6 ounces brut champagne or prosecco, chilled
- sliced strawberries, for garnish
Make the syrup
- In a large saucepan, cover rhubarb chunks and strawberries with water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the rhubarb has softened.
- Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Add rhubarb-strawberry mixture and allow syrup to drain out. Add gentle pressure. Let sit for 30 minutes to cool while the syrup drips out of the mixture. Transfer to a glass jar. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Make the cocktail
- Add 1 ounce of syrup to glass. Top with bubbly champagne or prosecco. Garnish with a strawberry slice.
Adapted from Short Stack Editions