When we were in Alaska, we had lunch at the Flying Squirrel Bakery & Cafe in Talkeetna, Alaska. The food was delicious but the highlight of the lunch was the "Rhubarb Ade" they served. It was fizzy and lightly sweet and a lovely shade of light pink (apparently I am on pink kick).
Given the frequency with which rhubarb appears on this blog (Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata, Strawberry-Rhubarb Birthday Pie and Classic Strawberry Shortcake with Rhubarb Compote), you won't be surprised when I admit that I love this tart fruit (yes, it is considered fruit in the United States). It has been a few weeks since we were in Alaska, but I am still thinking of that rhubarb soda and this weekend I replicated it.
Two years ago, I received a SodaStream Penguin sparkling water maker for Christmas (thank you, Mom and Dad). I LOVE it and use it constantly. You can exchange the refillable CO2 cylinders at your local Williams-Sonoma store and by making your own sparkling water and storing it in the glass carafes that come with the Penguin, you avoid buying sparkling water in cans or plastic bottles.
So, I dusted off the penguin, perused the internet for rhubarb syrup recipes and got to work! I wanted the rhubarb syrup to be super-rhubarby, so I settled on a rhubarb syrup recipe from Food & Wine, which I adjusted by decreasing the sugar. I'm afraid I can't be super precise about the yield from this recipe because it really depends on how much syrup you'd like in your drink... but I've had 4 glasses already and still have enough syrup for at least 4 more!
6 cups (approximately 2 lbs) of rhubarb stalks, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
sparkling water or club soda
1. In a medium or large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Use the remaining rhubarb pulp as a compote for on top of yogurt, in a pie or as a garnish/sauce for meat.
2. Combine the chilled rhubarb syrup with the sparkling water or club soda over ice. The ratio of syrup to sparkling water is up to you - mine is approximately 1/4 syrup to 3/4 sparking water but this recipe, for example, calls for equal parts syrup and water.
I don't know about you, but I prefer a fizzy drink to be sipped through a straw. These are my favorite!