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The Rhubin

The Neighbour has something like 321 siblings and out of that big group of family there are three sisters who have become known in our world as The Sisters.  Every year The Sisters come down from The Miramichi in New Brunswick to spend a week with The Neighbours and this is always a very busy, festive week full of belly laughs, lobster rolls, chips dipped in hot fudge and long island iced tea. This year, not only did they bring us a couple of HUGE clumps of rhubarb to plant in our garden, but a bag of chopped rhubarb to cook with as well.

I have not been buying rhubarb this year because it has been kind of hard to find and when I do find it, it is ridiculously expensive and not even particularly nice. Come on, it's a damned weed and the grocery store wants to charge me $4 a stalk? What's next, hormone free dandelions for $9 a pound with a side of $20 organic poison ivy?

Anyway, if that weren't enough good luck, another friend sent me a message that she had a big bag of rhubarb for me and brought over some more. I went from rhubarb deprived to swimming in the stuff. I froze half of it and with the other half, I made rhubarb simple syrup. This is not the first time I have made rhubarb simple syrup but this time I added some orange peel and ginger for a bit of punch. You can put this stuff on everything. Drizzle it over ice cream or pancakes, throw a shot into a glass of soda water or sparkling wine or just mix it with a shot of vodka on the rocks to pump up the jam a bit.

Wanting a new gin based cocktail, I tried a number of variations until I came up with this winner. Of course I asked my friends on Facebook to name the drink and another friend, Christine, came up with Rubin for the win and then I threw in the h to make it more rubarbtastic.

I present to you, my new favourite summer cocktail:

The Rhubin

1 oz gin
1.5 oz *rhubarb simple syrup
juice of 1/4 large lemon
a sprig of fresh mint
soda water

Put the mint and the lemon juice in a tall glass and muddle the mint a bit - if you don't have a muddler, just mash it up with the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour in the gin and the syrup, add a few ice cubes and top up the glass with soda water.

*Rhubarb Simple Syrup

1 lb rhubarb, chopped (approx 4 cups)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
a good sized chunk of rind from an orange
2 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger, peeled

Put all of the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil, turn down the heat until it's just simmering and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
Now, get a clean glass jar and fill it with boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes while you get your other things ready. I use a canning funnel to pour it into the jar but if you don't have one, just be careful. Pour the boiling water out of the jar. Using a fine strainer, pour the syrup into your clean jar. When you get to the end, push down on the solids to get all the good juices out of there. When you are satisfied that you have gotten all the juice out of the rhubarb that you are going to get, set it aside, cover the jar and store in the fridge.
I put the rhubarb mash in a container and keep it in the fridge to eat on ice cream, spread on toast etc. It's too good to throw out.

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