Native strawberries will be ripe for the pickin’ just around the corner here in the Land of Steady Habits. Gotta make sure our recipe’s right for soon-to-be summer sippin’, strawberry margarita-style!

You can make “normal” simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water, but rhubarb’s in season, and I wanted to get that in on the cocktail party. So why be normal? First, let’s make the rhubarb syrup!

RHUBARB SIMPLE SYRUP WITH CARDAMOM
adapted from the Flourishing Foodie and Toby Cecchini (New York Times)

2 cups rhubarb, chopped
as a guide: for me, 2.5 stalks yielded two cups, but some of my stalks were HUGE (see above)
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 a lemon, squeezed
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
Wash the rhubarb; remove and throw away any leaves. Chop stalks into small 1/2 pieces.

To a medium saucepan, add rhubarb, water, sugar, lemon juice, cardamom and vanilla bean.

Stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a boil.
Reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir just every so often. Remove from burner; let cool for 20 minutes. Strain and gently press through a fine mesh strainer. Pour the syrup into a glass container; store in the fridge.
It will keep for a week, and you’ll have plenty, so try it with seltzer as rhubarb soda or make a rhubarb Collins: 2 oz. gin, 1 oz. rhubarb syrup, squeeze of fresh lime, shake-a-shake-a, then top with seltzer…or maybe make a rhubarb bellini if you’re feelin’ fancy! One more for my friend Jay who rolls on the sweet side of the street and does NOT like gin: the rhubarb Julius! 2 oz. Stoli Vanil, 2 oz. rhubarb syrup, squeeze of fresh lime, shake and top with seltzer.

You can eat the leftover rhubarb (pick the vanilla bean out, of course)–it’s a bit like tart applesauce.

But, hey, let’s not forget the main reason we’re here: it’s time to go for a spin in the blender to Margaritaville. Fasten yer seatbelts!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MARGARITAS

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup rhubarb syrup
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 cup your favorite tequila (I’m diggin’ Milagro of late)
1/2 cup your favorite orange liqueur*
*I used Agavero, tho’ I’m also a big Patron Citronge fan–both are delish. Citronge is slightly stronger by way of proof (64 proof vs. 80 proof).

Ready? Go! See the ingredients above? Place them all in a blender.

Blend! Like magic, margaritas are made. I don’t know if it’s my new blender, or just the texture of fresh strawbs blended with rhubarb syrup, but these are exceptionally SMOOTH and DELICIOUS! Serve in sugar-rimmed glasses filled with ice.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom–CENT’ANNI to Janey!

Oh, and how did Janey like them? πŸ™‚

On Mother’s Day, let’s just say these ‘ritas were kid tested–mother approved. Love you, Mom! β™₯

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