In the Northeast, we have what feels like three glorious weeks of Spring before being pelted by Summer’s brutally humid days. And, with temperatures creeping ever upwards, staying cool is important. I find that cocktails help.
Enter my juniper-infused best friend, gin.
Gin is my favorite warm-weather spirit because it just lends itself so damn well to all manner of uses, infusions, bitters, and botanicals.
But, unfortunately, the advent of artisan cocktail and speakeasy bar culture has made it a little intimidating to try to whip up a craft cocktail at home when any given recipe calls for a laundry list of hard to find ingredients and painfully artisanal tinctures.
Well, behold the gin gimlet, the more intoxicating cousin to the gin and tonic and nearly impossible to screw up. Traditionally created to stop scurvy for sailors, the gimlet is nothing more than gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.
Here, I’ve taken that classic cocktail but added a few twists. Rhubarb gets infused into the simple syrup, and then the whole thing gets garnished with fragrant kaffir limes leaves for a uniquely spicy but floral quality that pairs well with the gin and the juice.
Properly made, it’s strong, sweet, tart and oh so refreshing. But, most importantly, it’s dead simple to make, damn good, and no shrubs, tinctures or hard to pronounce liquors required.
Bright, tart, easy to drink and even easier to make. I wouldn’t change anything, but for an even more drinkable version reduce the gin to 1 oz. But, beware because these go down way too easy.
You can find kaffir lime leaves at most Asian supermarkets and some Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, feel free to leave it out.
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Rhubarb Gin Gimlet
- 1 1/2 oz plymouth gin
- 2 oz rhubarb simple syrup
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- A dash of rhubarb bitters
- 1 small kaffir lime leaf for garnish
In a shaker, add all ingredients minus the kaffir leaf and shake with ice. Strain into a 6 oz coupe glass. Place the kaffir leaf between your palms and give it a few good smacks to release its oils and fragrance. Garnish the drink with the kaffir leaf.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
- About 1 lb rhubarb – roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Juice of half a lime
Combine chopped rhubarb, water, and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer until the fruit is very soft, about 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes and strain using a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the lime juice. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.
Use the strained fruit pulp to top yogurt or ice cream. Left over syrup can be combined with club soda for a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink.
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