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Pink Eye – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned

5 from 1 vote

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old fashioned cocktail with rhubarb roses, flowers and mint
Pink Eye Old Fashioned – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned

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.

old fashioned cocktail with rhubarb roses, flowers and mint
Pink Eye Old Fashioned – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned

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.

For more old fashioneds, check out the Tiki Coffee Fashioned, The Oleo Old Fashioned and the Bold Old.

old fashioned cocktail with rhubarb roses, flowers and mint
Pink Eye Old Fashioned – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned
old fashioned cocktail with rhubarb roses, flowers and mint

Pink-Eye Old Fashioned – Rhubarb Peppercorn Old Fashioned

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Get a little pink in your eye with this classic old fashioned riff featuring rhubarb-peppercorn simple syrup and smoke and chili bitters. While it doesn’t have enough syrup in it to turn it pink, the rhubarb tart-sweet flavors and the peppercorns aromatics and heat are discernable through and through.
5 from 1 vote
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 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.

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

**Rhubarb Peppercorn Syrup
  • 2 c chopped rhubarb
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tsp peppercorns, lightly cracked
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes mushy. Strain through a colander, then a fine mesh sieve to get as much of the rhubarb solids out as possible. Reserve the solids for use on baked goods, ice cream or as garnish on a lovely salmon steak. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Keyword bourbon, chili, peppercorn, rhubarb, rye
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on June 4th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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