Rose Gin Rhubarb Cocktail + Melon Prosciutto Salad
stop and smell the roses…but then pucker up!
As the first rosy stalks come up through wet earth, nostalgic rhubarb memories appear. Sour and tart, ripped from the backyard garden (sometimes not our own!), washed (barely) under the garden hose and tiptoeing dripping wet through the kitchen for a quick dip in the sugar bowl. Our refreshing reward on a hot day, this sweet tart kick The tastebuds don’t forget. Over the weekend we found ourselves craving that flavour, rhubarb.
Childhood memories aside, we are now adults and our desire for those puckery tart flavours has refined. The sweet-sour cocktail is the perfect warm weather drink. With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, it’s no wonder that we chose the humble rhubarb plant to star in this aperitif.
Hot weather is here, its time to break out the gin! Gin tastes like budding leaves, sun filled days and blue skies. Of course there is nothing wrong with the clean, crisp, fresh flavours of a classic gin and tonic. Our sophisticated spin is brimming with spring flavours, the stage shared between rhubarb and a gin flavoured with rose petals and rose hips.
did you know…
- our cocktail is inspired by a French 75, the classic gin and Champagne cocktail; one story has the cocktail being named after the French 75 -mm field gun used in WW1… the gun was known for it’s accuracy and speed, and the drink has a similar “kick”
- technically a vegetable, the rhubarb plant originated in Northwest China and was traded as a commodity
- rhubarb was prized for its medicinal value and was thought to cure all that ails you
- as cane sugar production increased, rhubarb was utilized more as a food source; sweet sugar could temper rhubarb’s tart character
- Victoria rhubarb, named by an English plant breeder in honour of Queen Victoria, has been around for 175 years…of course we would use it in a Victoria Day cocktail!!
- just as your Mom warned you off yellow snow in winter, don’t be tempted to eat the rhubarb leaves..they are full of toxic oxalic acid
Rose Gin Rhubarb Cocktail
For the rhubarb syrup:
1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
equal parts sugar and water by volume measurement
For the cocktail:
1 oz. Dillon’s Rose Gin, well chilled
2 oz. rhubarb syrup, well chilled
4-5 ice cubes for the shaker
2-3 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters
2-4 oz. sparkling wine of your choice; we used Bottega Rose Brut
rhubarb stalk, mint leaves and lemon peel for garnish
- Add rhubarb chunks to a small saucepan, add water to cover. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 1 hour.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve; do not press the rhubarb or the syrup will be cloudy. Discard solids or add to smoothies or as a topping for oatmeal.
- Measure out rhubarb “water” and pour back into saucepan. Add the the same volume of sugar to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar is just dissolved.
- Chill the syrup until needed. The syrup will last about 2 weeks refrigerated…although best consumed early among friends!
- And now for the fun part; get that cocktail shaker out from the back of the cupboard!
- Add the rose gin, rhubarb syrup and ice and shake what your Mama gave you. (the outside of the shaker should feel cold, it’s about 20 seconds or so)
- Strain the cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer (it’s that springy looking thing that came with your shaker) or over a slotted spoon into a highball glass.
- Add a few dashes of the rhubarb bitters and top with your favorite bubbly. Garnish away!
- Now drink it.. and make another.
Melon Prosciutto Salad
For the salad:
1 large cantaloupe, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large handfuls arugula
12 slices prosciutto, torn into bite sized pieces
one large handful whole skin on almonds, toasted
one large handful shaved hard salty cheese; we used ricotta salata but a good Parm or Asiago would work here as well
For the dressing:
juice of one lemon
great quality olive oil for drizzling
honey for drizzling
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- Arrange the salad business on a large platter.
- Lightly drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and honey.
- Season to taste.
- Yep, that’s it. It’s the long weekend! Sweet!
what we chose to pair and why
We chose to pair this cocktail and salad for two reasons: the Rose Gin has been languishing in the cupboard since our visit to Dillon’s Distillery last fall and the salad came together quickly from what we had on hand. Long weekends are meant to be savoured and enjoyed. Get out of the kitchen and go dip your toes off the end of the dock!
For their classic gin, grape based spirits are distilled from local Ontario wine grapes in a copper pot still, passing vapour through 22 botanicals, including juniper, citrus and spice.
Dillon's Rose Gin
A London-style gin (100% Ontario Rye based) that is infused with floral rose hips and rose petals, then lightly sweetened.
Like a good friend…we are just trying to push you outside of your comfort zone.
Live a little and expand your palate.
Stop and smell the roses…then pucker up!
Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers
After 10 years as a restaurateur, culinary instructor and caterer, a trip to France sparked an untapped enthusiasm for all things wine. I gave up the restaurant life, made a huge u-turn and dove head first into the vast world of wine. I have never looked back and achieved my Sommelier certification with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2015. I love sharing my pursuit of the perfect pairing in a fun, unfussy and ultimately delicious way with my friends, family and those I teach.
Red Seal Chef, Culinary Instructor
I graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in 1999 and achieved Red Seal Certification shortly thereafter. With this strong foundation laid, an opportunity to spend time in California presented itself. While there, I was intoxicated by the seasonality and quality of the ingredients everywhere I looked. This experience proved to be a turning point for me in how I thought about food. It inspired me to have a deep and enduring respect for the people, food and culture that go into the perfect dish.