Rhubarb is in season, and I couldn’t be happier.

Last spring, after many cobblers and pies, I decided to turn my sights to rhubarb beverages. Obviously, rhubarb needs a little loving before adding to a drink, so I went with this beautiful bright pink syrup, so easy to make and so very versatile. I added a little to my gin and tonics all summer long. It also makes a great base for a Rhubarb Lemonade, spiked or otherwise. You can sparkle it up with some soda water, or drizzle a little over some berries and serve atop a scoop of sorbet or ice cream. I won’t get into particulars, but someone in my house occasionally ate it by the spoonful in front of the open fridge (OK, that was me).

But perhaps its finest hour is as an integral part of a rosé sangria, inspired by a Spanish concoction I had at Jose Andrés’ Jaleo in Washington, D.C. It’s the ultimate summer beverage. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4  cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 2 – 1-by-3-inch strips each: orange and lemon peel (zest only)
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint


1. Combine all ingredients with 3 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until rhubarb is falling apart.

2. Let mixture cool, and then strain it through a sieve into a bowl. Press on solids to extract all the liquid; discard the solids.

3. Set aside and let cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Rhubarb-Rosé Sangria:

  • 1/2 cup each: gin, brandy and rhubarb syrup
  • 2 bottles rosé wine
  • 1 orange, rind washed, sliced in half vertically, then into 1/2-inch thick half moons
  • 1 lemon, rind washed, thinly sliced
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 2 – 11.15-ounce cans chilled San Pellegrino Aranciata or Aranciata Rossa Sparkling beverage (I’ve found also that a 24-ounce bottle of Q Sparkling Orange will work, too)


1. Combine gin, brandy, rhubarb syrup and rosé wine in a large container (I use a huge glass beverage jar). Add fruits to macerate.

2. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

3. When ready to serve, add chilled San Pellegrino Aranciata and stir to combine and fizz.