Have you ever been in the grocery store shopping for one thing then ended up buying other things? Yes me too. This happens every time I venture out actually. It’s like I will be all “ladi dah” walking around not really even sure of what I’m doing and then I’ll see it. That thing I must have. I actually see the recipe for this item in my head, knowing exactly what I could use it for. For me it’s sometimes remembering an old favorite recipe or just concocting something in my little brain there on the spot.
On this particular day I was shopping and saw rhubarb. Luscious, red, sticks of joy beckoning me to come over and have some undivided one on one time. So I obliged and there I stood staring at this pile of perfectly ripe rhubarb. Evidently I was staring a bit too long as one of the grocers asked if I needed assistance. I didn’t even look, just waved her off and politely told her I found what I came for.
So I plucked up 2 lbs. of the choicest stalks and went about my business. The rest of my shopping was done via a list. I learned a while back that when shopping a list is imperative as I get sooooo distracted.
As I meander through the aisles checking off all my items from my list I am really thinking about the recipe for the rhubarb and what else I must need to complete this …thought. You would think I was making a pie or some complex baked good. Nope. A cocktail! Actually my first thought was a refreshing drink that morphed into a cocktail due to my long week I was having. There is more than you think that goes into a delicious cocktail. The alchemist in me was very delighted. When all was said and done, this little goblet of love was only like 4 ingredients.
As for the ingredients I had just started an herb garden which consisted of just two kinds of basil, lavender and mint. Just that morning when watering the herbs I nibbled on a leaf of purple basil and it was like an explosion of flavor that had my mind wandering. All day evidently. Sometimes when tasting herbs in particular, I get a wave of…..well it’s like the super heroes who when they touch you, can see all sorts of images about your life, future, past and present. Yeah it’s like that for me. Except I see everything this leaf could be used for. Tea, cakes, drinks, muffins, lasagna, gazpacho, macarons…..Anyway this flavor profile must have stuck with me and when I saw the rhubarb, things started to connect.
I hurried home and put everything away, immediately took out my Cuisinart, knife and cutting board and started chopping the rhubarb. I tossed the rhubarb in the processor and let it run till it was all pulp. Then I grabbed about 8 cups of water and brought it to a boil. When it was boiling I shut of the burner and tossed in some honey, about 1 cup. I could have used sugar but like the smoothness of honey especially in a cocktail. I let this honey-water cool for a bit. Then I poured the rhubarb pulp in a large bowl and then added the honey-water. I then went out to my herb garden and plucked about 6 of the nicest Thai purple basil leaves, julienned them and added those to the mix. Everything got covered in plastic and put in the fridge for 2 hours.
It seemed like 6 hours to me as I didn’t want to start drinking anything until I tasted the soft gentle notes of the basil mixing with the robust but soft rhubarb flavors. Finally I took out the bowl and strained the liquid from the pulpy mess into a pitcher. I decided to go all-in and made this into a mojito.
I took some more basil leaves and 1 tablespoon of sugar and mashed them together with a mortar and pestle. Then filled a glass with ice and tossed the sugar-basil on top and filled with a couple ounces of rum and the rest with the rhubarb mix. Tossed into a shaker and with a few “Tom Cruise” like shakes and then straight back into the glass. I snapped a picture and then…gulp. ………oh yeah that’s what I’m talkin about! Bomb diggity!
Here’s a recipe if you want (you definitely should!) to make it.
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 pound rhubarb, peeled if necessary, chopped
- 3 cups hot water
- Fresh basil, preferably Thai basil
- Bring water to boil, remove from heat, stir in honey and let cool.
- Whiz chopped rhubarb in a food processor. Place pulp in medium bowl, pour hot water over pulp, and add basil and cover. When bowl is cool enough to handle, place in refrigerator for 2 hours or until cold.
- Strain pulp through a sieve into honey-water mixture. Stir. Place ice cubes in 4 tall glasses and pour drink over
Or…..for a mojito take two large cut up basil leaves and grind either in the glass or in a mortar and pestle. Add this to a glass with ice, rum and rhubarb mix.