It's the longest day of the year... and the first official day of summer! Happy happy happy!
So, for me, it's time to switch to my summer happy hour beverage-of-choice: the mojito. I love it because it's light, fresh, and doesn't negate all my hours of hoofing it outdoors.
I love going to restaurants in early summer, when mint and berries are coming in to season, because bartenders get very creative around here, riffing on the mojito (my favorite version? the Blueball Mash at the Loop-- the perfect sip!).
Rhubarb is going crazy at our market right now, probably because of the ridiculous amounts of rain that we've gotten here over the past few weeks. I picked up some gorgeous stalks that were-- no joke-- over two feet long! Way too much for pie, so why not a simple syrup?
Three great things about cooking up some rhubarb-mint simple syrup:
1) You are never more than a few minutes away from a vibrantly flavored fun summer drink;
2) The leftover rhubarb after you strain the syrup is a lovely jam, and makes for a great breakfast yogurt topper; and,
3) This recipe makes a TON of syrup, so you can easily can it and save the first day of summer in a jar!
Mint-Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Adapted from theKitchn
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 mint leaves
Place chopped rhubarb, sugar, and water in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until rhubarb is really soft, sugar is dissolved, and the syrup begins to thicken. Add in the mint leaves and allow to steep for three-four minutes. Remove from the heat, strain out the rhubarb and mint, and transfer syrup to a jar. Save the strained rhubarb as a rough jam for your breakfast treats!
2 mint leaves
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp mint-rhubarb simple syrup
1 oz silver rum
In the bottom of a tall glass, muddle together the mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup. Pour in the rum, muddle a bit more, and cover with ice. Fill to the top with soda water, slip in a straw, and enjoy. Makes one drink.