In what can only be explained as a temporary bout of madness, Andrew and I spent the last week on a juice cleanse/detox. I’ve never been one for extreme measures; generally speaking I don’t diet, pull all-nighters, or have strongly polarized religious or political views, but rather choose moderation as my default position. And yet, swayed by Andrew’s enthusiasm, and the promise of glasses filled to the brim with juicy nectar, I spent six days feeding our new kitchen beast all the fruits and vegetables it could devour.
I’d like to report back that I found this process revelatory, that I felt healthier, clearer of thought, or that I glowed from within, but rather, I think I’ll stick to chewing my food. Listless and constantly ravenous, my focus was distracted at best, nonexistent at worst. Woe be the man who comes between me and my dinner, I was irrationally crabby, lashing out at Andrew over shamefully petty matters. Reading and writing about food was a tortuous process (perhaps explaining my silence here), despite those epicurean details holding a near pornographic allure. Overall, I simply felt not quite myself, significantly less sharp of mind, and constantly plagued by a relentless headache that only quit after a hearty brunch at a favorite haunt.
That’s not to say that our juicer will end up gathering dust any time soon. Perhaps the only factor that kept me going on this cleanse was the actual flavor of the juices themselves. A whole new realm of refreshing tonics and cocktail possibilities are now at my fingertips; beverages that I imagine will pair wonderfully with their friends bread, cheese, meat and the like. So while I won’t be subsisting exclusively on liquids again anytime soon, you can expect more ideas on what to imbibe from yours truly, including this belated* but nonetheless delightful spring cocktail.
*I meant to share this last week, but simply couldn’t string the words together. Please note that despite my above rant on juicing, this cocktail requires no special equipment aside from a cocktail shaker. Juicing experiments: coming soon.
cheery dogwood blossoms
Dangerously drinkable, with a darling pale pink hue, these might not appear to be the most masculine of cocktails. Rest assured, they’re far from saccharine, with a flavor that will appeal to both sexes. I imagine the gin and rosemary rhubarb syrup would pair well with a variety of citrus, though you may want to adjust the ratios to taste. Not a fan of rosemary? Simply leave it out when you steep the syrup.
Adapted from Eat Make Read
For the rosemary rhubarb syrup:
2 cups rhubarb (≈ 4-5 stalks), sliced ½-inch thick
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
For the cocktail:
1 part freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 part rosemary rhubarb syrup
1 part gin (Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, and Beefeater are all great choices)
grapefruit wedges for garnish
To make the rosemary rhubarb syrup:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rhubarb, rosemary, water and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down completely. Carefully pour the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a container for storage; allow to cool completely.
To make the cocktail:
Fill a cocktail shaker to the brim with ice and add the grapefruit juice, rhubarb syrup and gin (for one cocktail use 1 ½ ounces of each ingredient). Shake vigorously til condensation appears on the outside of the shaker.* Strain and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
*Alternatively, one can stir this cocktail vigorously with ice (a cocktail spoon makes quick work of it), though traditionally any cocktail involving citrus is shaken, not stirred.
As one might guess from the ingredient quantities listed, this makes extra rosemary rhubarb syrup. Quite frankly, I don’t think you’ll find this a problem; it should keep refrigerated for at least two weeks, and chances are it’ll be gone before then if you’re anything like me!
The strained rhubarb rosemary pulp from the syrup is pretty amazing served over ice cream as a warm compote (or eaten straight with a spoon).
After a lot of persnickety searching, and lamenting over the lack of quality amongst the available options, I’ve finally found my favorite cocktail shaker. It’s solidly built, has clean lines (no tacky artwork), and so far has shown no signs of wear (I’ve had mine for a couple months and use it regularly). As a former bartender, I’m a big fan of the Boston shaker (versus a cobbler shaker), as when used properly it’s far less messy and more efficient to use. I’d also recommend this cocktail strainer (you’ll need one if you’re using a Boston shaker). Confused as to how to use a Boston shaker? This short video should help clear things up (it’s easy, I promise).