The Tony Toni Toné - Rhubarb Cocktail and Rhubarb Liqueur

Weeks whizz by in the Spring months (almost summer) and certain garden delights come and go quickly, so it's a time when I am making syrups and liqueurs galore. 
And drinking them too!
It started a couple of weeks ago with rhubarb.An old fashioned kind of fruit, that I imagine some people never experience beyond a strawberry rhubarb pie. That's too bad. The earthy, rugged stalks belie the delicate perfumed flavor of the rhubarb, which is easily accentuated with a variety of herbs or spices.
First for immediate satisfaction, I chose to make a syrup.
Rhubarb, fresh from the local farmer's market, steeped with sugar, water, one star anise, a bit of a vanilla pod, and a drop of rose water. Makes for a perfect mixer or delightful on it's own with sparkling water.
Then I set about pairing it with the wonderful seasonable strawberries now available, for a garden fresh cocktail. 

 For three cocktails, I muddled a small handful of strawberries, about 8. Feel free to increase or decrease this amount
 with about 2 ounces of the rhubarb syrup as well as a a sprig of fresh mint.
 To that I added the juice from 1/2 lemon
 and 6 ounces (more or less) of home infused citrus Vodka.
 Added ice and shook it all up, and served it in a Martini glass.
The Tony Toni Toné Cocktail.
 I also began the slower process of making a rhubarb liqueur for future consumption.
I cut up about 2 cups of fresh rhubarb,
 again one star anise (I love that subtle hint of flavor. Orange/ lemon peel would be nice or a small piece of vanilla)
placed it into a clean, wide mouthed jar and
covered over with 90 proof grain alcohol.
I place in it in a dark spot, and let it sit for one to two weeks. I check it during that time, giving it a shake. The color in the stalks over the days, is leeched into the liquor, and is imparting a pink hue (see photo below).
Once the steeping process is over, the liquid will be strained off (through a fine strainer lined with cheese cloth)
At this point, I put the liquid into a clean jar with about 1/3 the amount of sugar. Sweetness is something that needs to be personally adjusted here. I cap it, give it a shake and back onto the dark shelf it goes for at least 2 -3 more weeks.
Looking forward to enjoying it months from now when summer has faded away.



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