Blueberry Rhubarb Whiskey Smash is your new favorite smash. We’ve all seen the many variations of strawberry and rhubarb but I wanted to mix up something a little different, but that would still accentuate the color from the rhubarb.
Enter blueberries. If you know Firefly and Serenity you know the quote I’m referencing and in this case – I feel like I just can’t stop with the rhubarb. There’s still some left and I’ve been wanting to go through Firefly and Serenity lately, so the title is just a reference to the fact I can’t stop with the rhubarb lately, and I’m ok with that.
I’m back to work this week so I needed something simple but flavorful, and that matched well with the rhubarb syrup I’m still working my way through. After landing on this combination, I’m not sure how long the rest will last. Rhubarb’s not in season much longer, so I might be near the last of it.
Now rhubarb is tart, but in a simple syrup, you only get a little of the tart along with a lot of the vegetal notes. I say vegetal, but it doesn’t taste like a root, or greens. It just makes me think of an herb freshly plucked from the garden that still has a little of that garden/grassy-ness to it. It’s refreshing in a way I didn’t expect.
While this syrup originally included peppercorn as well, that’s now faded and hard to detect in the syrup. In this case, I think a syrup with just plain rhubarb would turn out deliciously for this Blueberry Rhubarb Smash.
Blueberries, like rhubarb, are tart. And I think for a smash, with it’s lemon/sourness it’s a good pairing. I tried this with both rye and bourbon and both worked well. If you prefer a little more kick to your whiskey, look for one 100 proof or higher. Ones with lots of barrel or char notes would not work well in this cocktail. They would distract from the more subtle notes you get from the rhubarb and the mint.
However, if you’ve got a favorite, try it and let me know what it was and what you think. One of the things that I think makes a smash so incredible is the muddling of the citrus. Rather than just look for the juice from the lemon, you get the oils from the zest and I think those are what heighten citrus notes in any smash.
Pro tip – add the mint last as a second muddling so you don’t over muddle it and turn it bitter. I’ve ruined perfectly good cocktails by overzealous muddling. To be fair, this usually happens on the 2nd round of drinks I’m making. But be gentle with your mint and it will sing for you.
Can’t Stop the Signal – Blueberry Rhubarb Smash
- 1 oz blueberries (about 12 – I filled the 1 oz end of a jigger and added them to the shaker)
- 1 oz rhubarb syrup
- ½ medium lemon (quartered)
- 4 large mint leaves
- 2 oz rye whiskey (bourbon works well, too, here)
- ½ oz blueberry syrup (I used Monin’s since I had it on hand)
- Garnish: lemon wheel, mint sprig, fresh blueberries
- Combine blueberries, blueberry syrup, and rhubarb syrup in a shaking tin with the lemon. Muddle well until the juice is expressed from the blueberries and lemon. Add the mint, leaves torn in half and muddle just a few times. Add whiskey, fill with ice and shake for 30 seconds, until the shaker is too cold to hold. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with blueberries, lemon wheel and mint sprig.
- 2 c chopped rhubarb
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c water