Rhubarb Syrup

A glass pitcher of rhubarb simple syrup for cocktails and drinks.

Inside: The trick to making rhubarb syrup that is bright pink and crystal clear, plus recipes and tips on how to use the simple syrup in everything from drinks to desserts.

Want to jazz up your summer cocktail recipes? Start with homemade rhubarb syrup. It uses fresh or frozen rhubarb stalks, sugar and a bit of fresh ginger to make a vibrant pink syrup for summer cocktails and mocktails. You’ll love the beautiful Barbie-blush color of this rhubarb simple syrup, and the flavors are zingy and light.

While I am not so fortunate to have a fresh rhubarb plant in my backyard, I know plenty of people who do. My friend’s Mom in Connecticut grows it fresh in her yard, and I just visited my niece, Anna, at her new farmhouse in Minnesota. She had two large rhubarb plants that were ready for harvesting.

My niece's two rhubarb plants.

She offered to cut some for me, but I’ve had more than one food item confiscated at the Minneapolis airport, so I had to decline. Rats!

Rhubarb is usually in season through the end of June — so you’ll want to pick some up to make this rhubarb syrup for all your summer cocktails and mocktails.

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Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • It’s quick and easy to make.
  • This rhubarb syrup has a GORGEOUS magenta color that will take your drinks from blush pink to neon.
  • The flavor is sweet, tart and a little spicy, thanks to the addition of a bit of fresh ginger.
  • You can make big batches to freeze and stretch this seasonal fruit beyond June.

Ingredients:

A closeup photo of the stalks of the rhubarb plant.
  • Rhubarb – when buying fresh stalks in the market, look for long stems that aren’t bruised or brown. Color is not an indicator that the fruit is ripe; it’s the length of the stems, so if some of your rhubarb is pale green or white, it’s okay. The plant was harvested when the stems were 7-15″ long – indicating they were ready to pick.
  • Fresh Ginger – Don’t substitute dried ginger, it won’t be the same. You only need a small knob, about 1″ in length. The ginger adds a floral heat to the rhubarb syrup and takes it to a new level. Without it, the syrup is more tangy and sweet – but with the ginger, it adds a spicy note you’ll crave.
  • Sugar – use plain granulated sugar, not brown sugar. This will keep the syrup bright and clear. Visually, it is much more appealing.
  • Water – I used cool water straight from the tap.

Step-by-step instructions:

Chopping fruit into 1" pieces.
  1. Wash and dry the rhubarb and cut the stalks into 1″ pieces until you have 2 cups of fresh fruit.
Quartering a piece of ginger.

2. Cut a one-inch knob of fresh ginger into quarters.

Combining the fruit, ginger and sugar in a pan.

3. Transfer the fruit and ginger to a saucepan and add the sugar.

Adding water to simmer the fruit.

4. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the fruit from the heat and let it steep for ten more minutes.

Straining the rhubarb syrup from the fruit.

5. Fit a fine mesh strainer over a two-cup glass measuring cup and strain the rhubarb syrup from the fruit. Do not press on the solids with the back of a spoon. Instead, just let them drain. Pressing on the fruit can make the simple syrup cloudy.

A measuring cup with rhubarb syrup in it.

6. Transfer the rhubarb simple syrup to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.

How to use rhubarb syrup:

  • Make this Rhubarb Ginger Gin Rickey.
  • Serve the kids this Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade.
  • Add a few tablespoons to club soda for a quick soda.
  • Combine with champagne or prosecco for a mimosa perfect for Mother’s Day brunch.
  • Make a rhubarb margarita with tequila and fresh lime juice.
  • Spoon it over vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries as a special Spring dessert.
  • Drizzle over pancakes and add fresh raspberries and strawberries.
  • Mix a tablespoon into plain yogurt to flavor it.
A backlit shot of the simple syrup.

You will love the bright pink color of this flavored simple syrup, but the flavor will get you hooked. It’s light, tangy, zingy and refreshing. The ginger adds a tingly quality to the sweet-tart rhubarb.

Storage:

  • Keep rhubarb syrup in a glass jar in the fridge for up to one week. If the contents settle, shake or stir the simple syrup to recombine.

Freezing:

  • You can freeze it in ice cube trays and once frozen, transfer them to a zip top freezer bag to keep in the freezer. This way, you can have it for cocktails and soft drinks all year long.

FAQs

Where does rhubarb grow?

This stalky fruit is not a native grower in South Florida. It flourishes in Northern climes where the ground freezes in winter.  

When is rhubarb season?

It’s usually ready to harvest between April and June or early July. It should be harvested by hand and not cut with a knife to preserve the stalks and promote the next season’s crop. The method of harvesting is by pulling and twisting the stalks from the ground, leaving about ⅓ of the plant to grow the following year.

Are rhubarb leaves poisonous?

Rhubarb contains Oxalic acid. According to Healthline, too much oxalate in the body can lead to a condition known as hyperoxaluria, which is when excess oxalate is excreted in the urine. This can also lead to an accumulation of calcium oxalate crystals in the organs and kidney stones. While both the stalks and leaves of the plant contain oxalic acid, but it’s most concentrated in the leaves.

A small pitcher of rhubarb syrup.
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4.38 from 8 votes

Rhubarb Syrup

A rosy hued rhubarb syrup with a hint of ginger, this flavored simple syrup is great for spring and summer drinks and cocktails. The rhubarb simple syrup can be made ahead and freezes well.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword ginger, rhubarb, simple syrup
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 16

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

  • fine mesh strainer

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups rhubarb chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1″ knob of ginger quartered
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

DIRECTIONS:

  • Wash and dry the rhubarb and cut it into 1″ pieces until you have 2 cups rhubarb.
  • Cut a 1 1″ knob of ginger into quarters and add it to a saucepan with the rhubarb pieces, 1 cup sugar and2 cups water.
  •  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes then remove from the heat to steep for an additional 10 minutes
  • Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the fruit mixture through the sieve to remove the solids.  Do not press on the solids; just let the syrup drain into the bowl on its own.  Discard solids.  
  • Cool the syrup to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTES:

You can freeze the rhubarb simple syrup in ice cube trays to save for later. Thaw to use.

NUTRITION:

Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 43mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 14mg

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9 Comments

  1. Gorgeous color! I love the combination of rhubarb and ginger… but i’m not too fond of using table sugar. What do you think, Lisa, could I use date syrup instead?

    1. Not if you want your simple syrup to have that pinkish blush to it. Date syrup is way too dark.

  2. 5 stars
    I have never used Rhubarb in this way, I am going to have to give it a try at my next ladies night!

  3. 5 stars
    Rhubarb and ginger go well together. This syrup really does look simple – I’m going to have to try it soon.

  4. This sounds so refreshing ! I’d love to add some to lemonade or make a spritzer with prosecco. Love the color!