“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.




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Rhubarb Floats

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.


55 Responses to “Rhubarb Floats”

  1. Cookin Canuck

    I am absolutely in love with this idea. My family embraces the rhubarb season enthusiastically and I know they would enjoy this.

  2. Melissa

    I need a glass straw as everything tastes better with a straw. I also must make rhubarb syrup as soon as we get weather warm enough for our rhubarb to pop

  3. Sue/the view from great island

    Rhubarb syrup? Sounds delish. I’m determined to use this lovely fruit (veggie?) in as many ways as I can while it’s around.
    I’m going to check out the straws, I hate the plastic variety.

  4. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I’ve been on a rhubarb kick as well. I love how you and I did rhubarb drinks today… so different, but it’s still so cool that our brains went there. Funny how that happens. By the way… I can’t wait to FINALLY meet in person in just a few weeks! I’m ready to get a little drunky with all of you.

  5. sundiegoeats

    Just finished my honey-rhubarb compote and I had it with yogurt, granola, oatmeal, cake, and toast but never on ice cream! How did that happen? Guess I’ll be procuring some more rhubarb soon…

  6. Daytona @ Outside Oslo

    Agreed, 84 degrees in May–in Seattle!–calls for gushing.

    I’ve been having so much fun with rhubarb lately–rhubarb fromage (a fancy Norwegian name for a simple yet elegant dessert), vanilla-scented Scandinavian rhubarb soup with yogurt ice cream, and now a rhubarb cake that’s baking in my oven as I type this.

    I love your idea of using it for floats–what a fun interpretation of the old root beer classic! By the way, I can’t wait to try the rhubarb sours when the book comes out. Yum!

  7. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    What Brian said!!

    I am patiently waiting for my rhubarb to grow and the boys are faithful to water it every day. I suppose it will be all the sweeter (sour?) when it finally matures. This syrup will be first on my list of ‘must makes’. Thanks, Ashley! I think your photography and composition is getting better and better. xo

  8. Wendy Koz

    This looks wonderful. Our rhubarb just became ready to pick this week and I can’t wait to add this to my repertoire! One question though – when you use the vanilla bean, do you just put it in whole, or cut it open so the little seeds work themselves out as it cooks? Thanks for your wonderful site – it’s always a pleasure to look at and read!

  9. sarah

    These look so amazing. I love that first photograph. I made a rhubarb-raspberry fizz last week; I might have to make it again and just throw some ice cream in it. 😉 And, I had a glass straw once. I loved it dearly, until it rolled off the counter and broke. I’ve always meant to replace it – thanks for reminding me.

  10. Kathryn

    One of the very best things about living in England is that we get rhubarb from January or so – it teases us with a whisper of Spring in the depths of winter. Of course, you don’t really want an ice cream float in January so I’m excited to see a more summery take on my favourite!

  11. Ashley B

    Made this last night and it was perfect. What a great spice balance along with the tangy rhubarb. Used the rhubarb mash on waffles this morning. Thanks!

  12. La Torontoise

    Like anyone else, I’m speechless:-)
    Love rhubarb, but never thought of such an interesting idea!!
    Thank you!!

  13. Laura

    We’ve been heavy into the rhubarb goodies too, but especially some rhubarb simple syrup like you. I make it rather concentrated and splash it into our G + T’s for some unseasonably warm patio refreshment. So great. Hope you’re still dwelling in the sunshine. These pretty pink floats are just wonderful.

  14. Cookie and Kate

    My friend from Seattle was just bragging that it was warmer there than here in Kansas City! I’m glad you all are getting some sunshine and warmth, it really makes a world of difference. I just polished off some strawberry rhubarb crisp with ice cream but I’m sure I could find room for a rhubarb float! They look so lovely.

  15. anna

    This look so yummy, I guess I will be making a run to the store tomorrow. Thank you so much for posting it.

  16. Laura Dembowski

    Love rhubarb so much! This sounds like a great treat and perfect for this nice weather we’re having in the midwest too! Weather like this, particularly after the long winter is so worth gushing about.

  17. Rosemary C

    That’s a great thing to do with rhubarb. I have a rhubarb patch in the garden but I can never think of much to do with it except to stew it up and add yogurt. Have you tried freezing this syrup? I wonder how that would work?

  18. Piper

    I love rhubarb SO MUCH, so I need to try this. And yes, we deserve our glee and happiness with our weather in Seattle lately! It feels like Summer, in MAY!!! I made some rhubarb vodka last year, and it made us all very, very happy!

  19. Megan Gordon

    Hellllloooo, cocktails! I’ve forwarded this to Sam. Love that you used cardamom in it — I think the two go so well together. Was thinking of you at the office this a.m. as I was swimming in granola. Hope all is well with your week so far! xox

  20. Irina @ wandercrush

    Beeeauuutiful and innovative use of rhubarb! I’m loving all the rhubarb recipes floating around on the blogosphere—I’ll have to join in on that! The colours in your photos are stunning, thanks for sharing 🙂

  21. robyn @ the freckled pie

    i love this clever idea so much – and discovered it first on pinterest, i’m so happy to know it came from you. also, that shot with the sugar being poured over the cut rhubarb? i drooled a little.

  22. Rachel

    Just when you thought rhubarb is getting bland and tart, (unless you have a nice sweet like Strawberry’s). What a stunning and yummy recipe. Cinnamon and Nutmeg go so well together, I absolutely love it.

  23. Jenny Rinzler

    This recipe sounds wonderful. You mentioned the straw source, but I’m admiring the green rimmed glasses and wondering where you got them.

  24. Ashton

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing
    all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

  25. domain

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before ending
    I am reading this wonderful piece of writing to increase my know-how.


Post a Comment to thelittleloaf

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>