The Friday Tipple: Ruby Rhubarb ‘Rita

Hola, Boozers. Here in the old U.S. of A, we’ll take any excuse to have a margarita, which explains why Cinco de Mayo is more popular here than in its country of origin, and why most of the people partaking in the celebrations have likely never even traveled south of the border (unless you count a visit to Pedro’s highway oasis) or can speak nary a soupçon of Spanish. Whatever. It’s a margarita. Bring it on.

The tart freshness of spring fruits lend themselves to margaritas that far surpass the standard variety made with overly sweet mixes. We went a little fancy this week by creating a base from ruby red grapefruit and rhubarb, but the result is well worth the small amount of effort it takes to make a more complex margarita. This is a drink not meant to be insulted with a bowl of Doritos and Cheez Whiz on the side, but would stand up perfectly to a fresh shrimp ceviche or an authentic pozole verde. Go ahead, put on that sombrero and live a little. Salud!

Ruby Rhubarb ‘Rita

Rhubarb is a fruit, or a vegetable, depending upon who you ask, with a texture and flavor often likened to tart celery. Our Ruby Rhubarb syrup is layered with flavors that simply cried out for a layering of liquors; sticking with tradition, we used a silver tequila and a splash of triple sec, but then floated a little white whiskey over the top, our American nod to a fiery aguardiente.

for the Ruby Rhubarb syrup:

1 cup  rhubarb stems, roughly chopped

1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice with pulp, freshly squeezed

1 cup water

1 cup turbinado sugar

4 or 5 pineapple sage leaves (you can substitute with basil leaves)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for one hour, allowing the rhubarb to soften and break down. When the liquid has thickened slightly, remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Strain thoroughly through a fine-mesh sieve; can now be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Yield: about 1 cup.

to make the ‘Rita:

1 lime

2 – 3 tablespoons Ruby Rhubarb syrup (adjust to your taste)

2 ounces silver tequila

1/2 ounce triple sec

1/2 ounce clear whiskey (we used Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirits)

Fresh rhubarb, cut into a 4-inch stick for garnish (optional)

Cut the lime in half and squeeze all the juice into a cocktail shaker. Add the Ruby Rhubarb syrup, the tequila, the triple sec, and several ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with coarse salt. Top with the clear whiskey, garnish with fresh rhubarb, and drink up.

The Friday Tipple: The Finish Line


It’s the dog days of summer, a time when you often see runners out in the hot sun, slogging along the dusty streets in sweaty shorts with a glazed expression. Those who run marathons and half-marathons are generally forced to do their toughest training during the summer and winter months, as most races tend to take place in fall and spring. So today’s Tipple was inspired by those who are seriously in need of a hydration libation, something to look forward to at the end of a long hot run. Or a swim meet, dance class, surf session, or just a hellish day at the office. We call it The Finish Line.

Based on a classic Mexican agua fresca, this cocktail is instantly refreshing, with or without alcohol, but we like to add some crisp vodka as an end-of-workout reward. Key to its preparation are ice cubes made from coconut water, which pack a healthy punch of electrolytes and potassium. We threw some antioxident-rich blueberries into the ice cube tray with the coconut water; some brands include Vita Coco and  Naked, which you can find in the water or juice aisle at the supermarket — but make sure to get coconut water not coconut milk.

The Finish Line

1.5 cups fresh watermelon, cubed

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon light agave nectar

3 fresh mint leaves

chilled vodka

4 coconut water cubes (or regular ice cubes if you prefer)

slice of cucumber for garnish (optional)

Put first four ingredients in a blender and purée thoroughly to make an agua fresca. Pour agua fresca into a cocktail shaker with a handful of regular ice cubes and a generous measure of vodka. Shake vigorously. Put coconut water cubes into a glass and strain the agua fresca mixture over them. Garnish with cucumber, kick back, and rest your aching muscles.