We’re finally starting to see signs of spring here in Vermont. All the snow is gone, there’s one lone tulip in my garden, and my downstairs neighbor and I had our first porch beers of 2015. It’s currently rainy and chilly, but I’ll happily take it after our never-ending winter of ice and snow and grossness. I wanted to be excited for spring when the asparagus started showing up, but that’s kind of hard to do while you’re wearing a winter coat and still craving soup. But last week there was rhubarb and tons of pretty pastel-colored flowers at the store, and it finally felt like spring to me. It seemed appropriate to celebrate with some drinks.
While I’ve been enduring the final days of our Narnian winter, G has been in Peru hanging out at ancient ruins, eating absurdly cheap food, and drinking pisco. For those that aren’t familiar, pisco is a grape-based brandy that’s produced in both Peru and Chile. Its most well-known application is in the pisco sour (though G told me he’s also has some delicious chilcanos, which sound awesome). I’m quite envious of all the amazing travel experiences he’s having, and he’s been kind enough to indulge my love of animals, flowers, and weird meat/produce with endless pictures. And while I might not be able to do anything about the lack of beautiful weather or marvels of ancient civilization here in VT (can’t say I blame the aliens for passing on a major settlement here in the northeast), I can make myself some pisco sours. And I can put rhubarb in them too.
This is somewhat of a bastardized pisco sour, what with the honey and the rhubarb, and the heavy presence of lemon. But it’s crazy good so none of that matters. I used a cold-process method to make the syrup, as it yields the best, brightest rhubarb flavor. The usual standard is one egg white per drink, but I prefer to split one between two drinks. (There’s something about a super velvety drink that makes me very conscious of the fact that there’s a whole bunch of egg white in there. It’s a personal preference, so feel free to use two if you like.) If you’d like to attempt some fancy bitters art, shake your bitters into a bowl, use an eye dropper to drop three dashes of bitters on top, and then use a toothpick to swirl them into a drink. Happy spring!
Oh! And one other reason to celebrate (um, how have I not talked about this here yet?): Reclaiming Provincial is a finalist in the Most Delicious Food category of the Saveur Blog Awards! I’m still in awe, and extremely honored to be sharing the category with so many other talented folks. Voting is open until the end of April, and you can head on over and vote here!
Honey-Rhubarb Pisco Sour
makes: 2 drinks
6 oz. pisco
2 oz. honey-rhubarb syrup (recipe below)
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1–2 egg whites
a few dashes of Angostura
Combine all ingredients except Angostura in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and then strain into glasses. Top with Angostura.
yield: approximatley 1 1/2 cups
2 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of raw honey
Place all ingredients in a large, wide bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for a few minutes, then crush up rhubarb a bit. (One of those flat, round potato mashers works best for this, but a tenderizer or a muddler will also work in a pinch.) Let the mixture sit for an hour, taking time to stir and crush the contents 2-3 more times. Strain into a jar and then shake to dissolve any remaining sugar if necessary. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.