Rhubarbtini – when life gives you rhubarb make a drink

If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be rhubarb fool, which I make with ginger and a hint of elderflower cordial.
— Sebastian Faulk

Hi there,

We moved into our home in Haddonfield in 1979. It was a cold, snowy, winter day in January. But we didn’t care, we were over the moon happy to be able to make this sad, neglected house our home.

We couldn’t even afford professional movers. But, our band of friends all came to our aid with a fleet of cars and rented trucks and quickly got “the owl and the pussycat” settled into our beautiful pea green house.

As we were taking a lunch break that afternoon, two adorable young girls rang our doorbell. They introduced themselves as Becky and Kathy Malcarney. They brought over a homemade cake and welcomed us to the neighborhood. With as much sophistication as they could muster, the girls informed me that they would make excellent babysitters. Then, they quickly returned to childhood, and asked if they and their brothers could continue to roll down the hill on our front yard.

This is the Malcarney bunch and that is our house in the background.

I had the pleasure of watching these adorable young girls become kind, caring, beautiful women. And, as a bonus, Dom and I developed a wonderful friendship with their parents that extends into the present day.

So, the other day I was gifted with a box of rhubarb from Becky hand- delivered by her mother, Kaye. I have never attempted to make anything from rhubarb but decided to give it a try and decided to make rhubarb syrup and invent a rhubarbtini.


  • 3 to 4 lbs of rhubarb cut into approximately 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 vanilla pod split
  • 8 cups of water
  • honey powder or sugar to garnish the glass


  1. Wash the rhubarb in cold water, trim the ends, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (There’s no need to peel them or worry about the fibers, as these simply melt down.)
  2. Place the fruit in a 6 to 8-quart pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cover, stirring occasionally. When all the chunks have broken down into a uniform soup — 20 minutes or so — remove it from the heat.
  3. Uncover and allow to cool. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, ladle into a fine-mesh strainer over a spouted collecting bowl. (You may have to do this in batches.) The pulp will become a mass, so stirring it in the strainer with a wooden spoon will allow it to drain better.
  4. Once it’s drained, put the the syrup into a container and refrigerate immediately.

Rhubarbtini Directions:

In a shaker filled with ice add equal amounts of syrup and vodka. Shake until chilled and pour into a coupe glass that has been rimmed with powdered honey or sugar. Enjoy!

Talk soon, ❤️💕 Bernadette

34 responses to “Rhubarbtini – when life gives you rhubarb make a drink”

  1. Your story reminds me of my own 1970s experience as a young mother in a neighborhood already rich with families and young ladies who loved being around babies. Precious memories!

  2. Our home in the country had a perfect hill for sledding and snow-boarding – we were very popular during the winter time! For some reason I have never cooked with rhubarb but I would enjoy making this drink!

  3. Forget the drink, I love this story!!! No, kidding. Love the cocktail. Not sure I feel like messing with rhubarb for the cocktail, but it’s damn pretty! And sounds delish!

    • Thanks Mimi. It is a fun memory. The cocktail is good. I just needed to make something new with rhubarb. Everything that can be done with this ingredient seems to have been already done. Have a good week my friend.

  4. I have never cooked with rhubarb! I don’t think I’ve ever had anything made with it…but I’m up for a good martini! Very inventive and clever recipe and I loved your sweet story!

  5. “I have never attempted to make anything from rhubarb but decided to give it a try and decided to make rhubarb syrup and invent a rhubarbtini.” That line cracked me up, Bernadette. Not a pie or crisp… but a rubarbtini! It looks wonderful and I’ll bet it was delish! And wonderful neighbors. How sweet. 😀

      • I don’t know how we lost touch. A blog change? It was a delight to see your name pop up. And yes. a little weird, but that’s the fun! I’ll bet is was good too.

      • After my son died, I stopped blogging for a few years. I couldn’t go back to the old blog, so I am trying to combine my two loves – storytelling and cooking.

      • I’m so sorry, Bernadette. I remember how devastating it was for my parents to lose my brother. It’s just not supposed to happen out of order. My heart goes out to you. And I’m so glad to reconnect. Hugs and more hugs. <3 <3 <3

  6. I think that a house contains within itself the story of many people in the family. Objects, furniture, every corner tells something. After so many years it is like a database of memories. This cocktail is very interesting 😋😋😋

  7. What a clever use of rhubarb and the drink is so pretty. Who wonderful that you have maintained such a lovely friendship over the years.

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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