Tart, spicy and sweet all at the same time, this Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned will be your new best friend this summer. Although it’s not as pink as I’d prefer because I’m using whiskies instead of clear spirits, use a lower proof or lighter in color bourbon and you’ll have a little of the pink shine through.
I’m late to the rhubarb train, but I just saw it at the grocery store last week and wanted to give it a whirl. I’ve never been a huge rhubarb fan, but obviously I hadn’t yet tried putting it in a simple syrup – add enough syrup and anything tart becomes tasty.
For this, though, I didn’t want to just play with the tart and sweet taste that comes from a rhubarb syrup. It’s not the same tartness as a citrus syrup; it has a little more vegetal flavors peeking through, and perhaps a little more earthiness. To bump up the complexity a bit I added some lightly cracked peppercorn to the syrup as it simmered and let some of the heat from the peppercorn shine through.
I can’t wait to try this syrup in a sour. That might be coming later this week.
But back to the rhubarb peppercorn old fashioned cocktail. . . In addition to adding the peppercorn to the simple syrup, I also wanted to add a little extra heat to the cocktail with the bitters, so I added some Hella Smoked Chili bitters. These bitters are my favorite way to add a little smoke and heat to a cocktail, and in this pairing they’re delicious. I also added some 1821 Prohibition Aromatic bitters.
Instead of using only rye, my first inclination, I went with a split base because I wanted to marry a little more of the vanilla notes I get from the bourbon to that spicy/sweet base of the rye.
Pink-Eye Old Fashioned – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned
- 1 oz rye (Jack Daniels)
- 1 oz bourbon (Old Forester 86)
- ½ oz rhubarb peppercorn syrup**
- 5 dashes 1821 prohibition aromatic bitters
- 1 dash Hella Smoke and Chile bitters
- Garnish – Rhubarb rose or knot, fresh edible flowers, peppercorns. Optional – cracked pepper rim.
- Combine bourbon, rye, syrup and bitters in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until chilled and well-combined. Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube and garnish with a strip of rhubarb, peppercorns and flowers as desired.
- 2 c chopped rhubarb
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c water
- 2 tsp peppercorns, lightly cracked