Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables available when spring returns. That makes it a fitting choice to flavour this effervescent lemonade. Serve it as a delicious family-friendly refresher on those glorious warm days under the sun — and check out the Chef’s Tips for a cocktail version!
approximately 1 hour chilling time
- 3 cups (402 g) rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed (leaves removed), cut into 1-inch chunks 3 cups (402 g) rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed (leaves removed), cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1½ cups (375 g) water 1½ cups (375 g) water
- ½ cup (100 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar ½ cup (100 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, packed ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, packed
- 3 pcs (6 g) lemon zest, wide strips 3 pcs (6 g) lemon zest, wide strips
- 2 tsp or 3/4 inch (4 g) fresh ginger, peeled, sliced into rounds (optional) 2 tsp or 3/4 inch (4 g) fresh ginger, peeled, sliced into rounds (optional)
- 1½ cups (375 ml) lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed (8 to 10 lemons), chilled 1½ cups (375 ml) lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed (8 to 10 lemons), chilled
- 2 cups (500 ml) club soda or sparkling water, chilled 2 cups (500 ml) club soda or sparkling water, chilled
- Rhubarb “ribbons” Rhubarb “ribbons”
- Lemon wedges or wheels Lemon wedges or wheels
- Scale OR dry measuring cups Scale OR dry measuring cups
- Large heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot Large heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot
- Liquid measuring cup Liquid measuring cup
- Vegetable peeler Vegetable peeler
- Slotted spoon Slotted spoon
- Heatproof spatula Heatproof spatula
- Fine mesh sieve OR a regular strainer lined with cheesecloth Fine mesh sieve OR a regular strainer lined with cheesecloth
- Large heatproof bowl Large heatproof bowl
- Pitcher OR glasses Pitcher OR glasses
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add chopped rhubarb. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the Redpath® Granulated Sugar, the Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, strips of lemon zest, and fresh ginger to the liquid. Simmer and stir until sugars are dissolved, fruit softens, falls apart, and loses its colour; 10 to 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
Remove from heat and allow syrup to infuse and cool slightly; 10 minutes. Carefully strain the pulp mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. With a spatula, gently move the pulp, allowing as much of the liquid to strain through, though being careful not to press too hard onto the pulp as this will create a muddy-looking syrup. Discard lemon peels and ginger slices, but reserve rhubarb pulp (see Chef’s Tips for uses).
Allow simple syrup to cool to room temperature. Place into the fridge to chill; at least 1 hour (see Chef’s Tips).
In a large pitcher filled with ice, stir together the 2 cups (500 ml) of rhubarb syrup with 1½ cups (375 ml) of the rhubarb syrup. Either top the pitcher with club soda or sparkling water (2 cups/ 500 ml) or divide the rhubarb-lemonade into 6 glasses and top with club soda (⅓ cup / 83 ml). To make individual servings, fill glasses with ice and pour ⅓ cup (83 ml) of rhubarb syrup, ¼ cup (63 ml) of lemon juice, and ⅓ cup (83 ml) club soda.
Garnish pitcher or glasses with ribbons of rhubarb and/or lemon wheels.
*Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar can be substituted for the Redpath® Golden Yellow; note that there will be a stronger caramel undertone to the drink, and the drink will be less bright and pink in colour. Using all Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar in place of the Redpath® Granulated Sugar will also yield a syrup with more caramel undertones and a less vibrant-looking syrup.
*To quickly chill liquids (e.g. simple syrups), transfer into a metal bowl. Fill a larger bowl with ice with a small amount of water. Set the bowl with the hot liquid over the ice, stirring constantly until cooled. Cover or transfer into an airtight container and place into the fridge until needed.
*The rhubarb syrup can be made the day before or even 2 to 3 weeks ahead for easy preparation. Store any leftover rhubarb syrup in a mason jar, bottle, or glass container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Leftover syrup can be used to flavour sparkling water or tea, or moisten and flavour cake layers.
*The sweetened cooled rhubarb pulp can be stored in an airtight container and used as a spread on toast or as a topping over pancakes, waffles, yogurt, oatmeal, and ice cream. Add a dash of cinnamon and eat like applesauce. Alternatively, freeze pulp in ice cube trays and add to smoothies.
*The fresh ginger gives the drink a slight “kick” which pairs nicely with the tart flavours of the rhubarb and lemon. However, the drink is still delicious without it.
*To make rhubarb ribbons, use a vegetable peeler and peel long strips along the length of a washed rhubarb stalk.
*Cocktail version: add an ounce (approximately 2 tablespoons / 30 ml) of gin, vodka, or tequila to each glass before topping off with club soda or sparkling water. Alternatively, replace the club soda with champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine.