This Rhubarb 75, a simple, seasonal twist on the classic French 75, will quickly become your favorite (and most elegant) way to day drink.
Spring is the season of daytime parties, no? Whenever I think of spring holidays, like Easter and Mother’s Day, I think “brunch”. And the warm weather always seems to bring with it a slew of showers — not (always) the rain kind, but the bridal and baby variety. Day parties!
Day parties seem to cry out for Champagne cocktails, and I’m not complaining. But since a classic mimosa is a bit… limp in the flavor department, I lean towards the mother of all Champagne cocktails instead: the French 75. I can’t think of a drink I’d rather have at brunch, holidays or not. Floral gin, fresh citrus, a little sugar and plenty of bubbles. I’m SO in.
The French 75 is also ridiculously easy to modify for the season. Just swap a seasonal syrup into the traditional recipe, then adjust the proportions to your taste. This Rhubarb 75 uses my favorite spring syrup, which I could seriously put in everything this time of year. The tangy tartness of the rhubarb itself, plus the warmth of the vanilla bean I use in my recipe, and the lightly floral notes enhanced by the addition of orange blossom water… heaven.
Oh, and the leftover rhubarb pulp, essentially the byproduct of the syrup, happens to be an amazing compote. Try it on crostini with goat cheese, over ice cream, on a cheese plate, or with toast. Your new favorite spring spread.
Now, a word about rhubarb garnishes. I happen to love the look of rhubarb ribbons — the bold colors, the candy-like pattern — but they can be annoying to work with. I use a mandolin to ribbon raw rhubarb stalks, but a good, sharp peeler will work just as well. For whatever reason, I find that older rhubarb (rhubarb that sits in my fridge for a day) peels better.
Here’s this thing, though: sometimes a rhubarb stalk just does not want to peel into a perfect, picture-worthy ribbon. Don’t fuss over it. Swirl your less-than-perfect rhubarb ribbons into your Champagne glasses, or forgo the tricky rhubarb and stick an edible flower on top. The drink will taste amazing either way.
- 1.5 oz gin
- .75 oz fresh squeezed/strained lemon juice
- .5 oz rhubarb syrup (recipe below)
- Chilled Champagne or Cava to top
- For the syrup: Combine ¾ lb chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with 1 cup water, 1 cup cane sugar, and 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, then lower heat and cover. Let simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in ¼ tsp orange blossom water, replace lid, and let cool to room temp. Refrigerate overnight, then strain with a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth-covered sieve. Reserve the strained, broken down rhubarb for use as a compote, and store both syrup and compote in the fridge. [TIP: you can make the syrup without the vanilla bean or orange blossom water in a pinch. You won't get the same depth of flavor, but it will be nearly as good.]
- For the cocktail: Combine all but the Champagne in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake hard for 5 seconds.
- Pour into a Champagne flute and top with chilled Champagne to taste.
- Garnish with rhubarb ribbons or a lemon twist.
If you’ve already made a batch of rhubarb syrup for my Velvet Snow recipe, this Rhubarb 75 has the bonus of a nicely short ingredient list. Gotta love a drink that comes together so quickly!
And if you like the look of this cocktail but aren’t a huge rhubarb fan, check out my Garden Party recipe. It’s equally gorgeous (and, you know, pink), but has a strictly floral profile.
If you try this Rhubarb 75 recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #gooddrink @colljeffers on Instagram. I love seeing your creations. Cheers, friends!