“The sun,–the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory.” - Charles Dickens
No matter where in the world you live I’m sure by now you’ve heard the gleeful cries of us north westerners basking in the unseasonable warmth. It seems, for a time, we’ve skipped spring and moved right into summer. The kiddie pools have broken their winter hibernation, as have the bbq’s and picnic tables. Last night we even welcomed in s’more season with the neighbors as we all huddled around roasting marshmallows on bamboo skewers over our little Weber. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a s’more before July. And the most exciting part about this sun, at least for Baron, is Lemonade season. We have a giant bag of lemons waiting to be squeezed and our little stand is nearly ready for customers.
For me the sun is a revival in energy, warming hope and the thawing of the winter months that color my mood, as well as the sky, a sort of dull, hopeless hue.
I feel silly gushing about the weather on a blog post but 84 degrees in May calls for a bit of gushing. But for now let’s quit with the talk of weather and gush about rhubarb floats. If you’ve seen my instagram feed recently you probably have noticed that I’m a little obsessed with rhubarb syrup these days. There were rhubarb italian sodas, rhubarb sours (for the book), mojitos and just a simple soda with lime. It’s the warming floral flavor that to me is the fragrance of spring, mixed with a gentle spice and softened with vanilla bean. It’s the sun that inspired the scoop of vanilla ice cream. For now, I’m retiring root beer and demanding all my floats are of the rhubarb variety.
Of all the many wonderful uses of rhubarb this syrup remains my favorite. It’s a fridge staple all through spring as it easily becomes the base for numerous cocktails, sodas and now ice cream floats. I love the warmth the spice brings but just rhubarb alone is great too. Feel free to play around with the add-ins. I’ve also added citrus peel into the mix with great results.
4 cups/1 pound/ 450 g chopped rhubarb
1 cup + 1 tablespoon/ 8 ounces/ 230 g sugar
2 cups/ 1 pound/ 450 grams water
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
3-5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly so the mixture continues to boil gently. Boil for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by nearly half. The rhubarb will break down and the liquid will get syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.
When cool, strain out the rhubarb. Save the rhubarb mash to add to yogurt, on top of ice cream or oatmeal.
Rhubarb syrup will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks.
For the float
These measurements are rough as it’s all a matter of taste. Adjust how you’d like. I kept on meaning to muddle strawberries with the syrup before adding the club soda and ice cream but got too excited that I forgot. Perhaps you’ll remember. Or imagine using strawberry ice cream or even coconut sorbet. So many floats to be had.
1/8 – 1/4 cup rhubarb syrup (recipe above)
1/2 cup club soda
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Add the syrup to a glass. To that add a scoop of ice cream and finish with club soda. Serve with a spoon and a straw.
*The straws in the photos are glass and I’m in love with them. The kind people at Glass Dharma sent me a few different sizes but these little cocktail straws are my favorite. Check them out.