Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail with Grapefruit

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Drinks | 2 Comments

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

“Aw, shit.” 

The girls looked up and over at Ted, the bartender, who stared down at his phone and shook his head. “What?” M said with a smile. She invoked her mother’s voice, her Queens accent. “Who’s dead.”

“Elaine Stritch.”

Their smiles dropped. They were theater kids, the three of them, and had been since high school. They’d gone to different high schools, the three, but had met in New York and recognized each other instantly. Q instantly looked at her own phone and typed in the words, needing her own confirmation. “Shit. She is.”

“You think I’d make it up.” Ted pushed himself away from the bar and swung backwards, grabbed a bottle of vodka and three glasses. “No way,” she said. “Gin.”

“You think?”

“Who knows? But it feels closer.” She beckoned for her glass with her finger and he put it down, poured her a shot. One for Q and one for himself. M nudged Q. “Pay attention.”

Q looked up, already broken up, in that vague and sudden way you could be broken up about someone you didn’t know in the slightest but knew all the high notes. “Damn. She was cool.” She laughed a little and scrolled through the things she’d already read, the quotes and the barbs. “Shit and crazy.”

“First we toast and then you tell us,” M said and she lifted her glass. But when she opened her mouth, she found she didn’t have the words. She looked at Ted who shook his head again. She looked at Q, who was itching to get back to her phone. “What should we say?”

Q frowned and lifted her own glass. “To New York,” she said. She sounded sure of her words. But then she always did.

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

We fixed you a drink. You looked like you could use one.

Wait, is that insulting? Is it like remarking to someone that they look tired? (Gee, thanks.) We just meant… you know, maybe it’s hot outside and too cold inside, where you are. Maybe the news of late is making your head hurt and your heart ache. Maybe you’re content and on the porch of your new house (it feels like everyone is buying houses, all of a sudden) and your hand is empty, needs a glass. Maybe it’s the end of the week and you just got paid. I don’t know. Sometimes you just really, really could use a drink. Preferably a drink that’s cold but warm with vanilla, has a sharp and sour and sweet bite. Something like the one we just mixed up for you, if you are in to experimenting with drinks, visit Spirit Lab London.

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail

Rhubarb Vanilla Cocktail with Grapefruit

Makes: 1 Cocktail and extra syrup | Print Recipe


For the syrup:

1 LB of rhubarb stalks, cleaned, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
2 Cups of water
1 and 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 Vanilla bean

For the cocktail:

1 Oz of gin
1 Oz of fresh grapefruit juice
Lemon peel (optional)


1. To make the syrup, combine rhubarb, water and sugar in a small saucepan. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean down the center and scape out the seeds. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and strain liquid, removing solids. Cool syrup.

4. To make the cocktail, combine 1/2 oz. cooled syrup, 1 oz gin and 1 oz grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.

5. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with lemon peel and additional ice if desired.


  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    July 19, 2014

    This is such a fun flavour combination!! I love this cocktail!

    • Nicole
      July 22, 2014

      I love the hint of vanilla in it, I think I’ll see what else I can make with vanilla simple syrup 🙂


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