Fresh rhubarb, you elusive plant.
I searched high and low for you these past couple weeks. I went to six different groceries stores, two of which were Whole Foods and one a Wegman’s (who usually carry EVERYTHING), in the hopes of getting my hands on you.
I even asked friends and family to keep an eye out with instructions to buy me a bunch if they saw it. No such luck, though. In my area, you can only find fresh rhubarb at the store for approximately three days out of the entire year. It goes as quickly as it arrives. If you don’t happen to catch it during its very small window of availability, it could be years before you see it in stores again.
I was in Whole Foods back in the beginning of March and I saw it then. Didn’t buy it. Wasn’t ready for rhubarb yet. Went back a month later and was unable to find it anywhere. That six stores statement is totally accurate. I was on a mission that could not be met. Sigh. Such is my life, folks.
I desperately wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb cocktail. I could NOT shake the idea (no pun intended). It had to happen. Mojitos, with all their spritzy lightness and minty-citrus freshness, seemed like the perfect pairing. I got stuck on the idea. My stubbornness took over. Like I said, it just HAD to happen.
So I made it happen. With frozen rhubarb. And you know what? These mojitos were completely fabulous. And using frozen rhubarb means that you can make these all spring and summer long! Hashtag: winning.
Now, I fully intend to recreate these soon with fresh rhubarb if and when I can find it (“if” being the very key word there), but really, in a pinch, the frozen works wonders. I defrosted it and let it steep in some simple syrup with fresh strawberries. Then I blended it all up to create this gorgeous pink puree. It tastes like straight-up spring. Full of sweet strawberry flavor with just a touch of that bitter-sour tang of rhubarb. Plus, that color makes me swoon.
It’s spring in a glass.
Add in some rum and what could go wrong? Absolutely nothing.
Fresh lime juice muddled with some fresh mint is the making of a fantastic mojito every time. I like mine with a little extra mint than most, but otherwise, I stick to a basic recipe for my mojitos. Lime, mint, light rum, club soda, and whatever extra flavor I am in the mood for. Strawberry and rhubarb work SO WELL here, that I almost want to say that I never need to try another mojito recipe again.
But that’s just crazy talk, right? You can never have too many mojitos.
Mojito Monday, anyone? Let’s make it a thing.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen rhubarb slices
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
8 fresh mint leaves
2 strawberries, sliced
2 rhubarb slices (defrosted if using frozen)
4 oz white rum
3 oz of the puree
Extra mint leaves
Club soda or seltzer
Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook for a few minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the fruit and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl or container and pour the puree through the strainer into the bowl. Stir in the lime juice.
Cover and chill the syrup until you are ready to use it.
Divide the lime juice, mint leaves, and fruit between two tall glasses. Muddle with a muddler or handle of a wooden spoon until the fruit is mostly mashed and the mint is very fragrant. Alternatively, you can muddle everything in one large glass or shaker and then divide it between the two glasses (muddle once instead of twice).
Add ice to the glasses and then divide the rum and syrup between the two glasses. Stir to combine everything and then top off the glasses with club soda, additional mint leaves, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.