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!

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!


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? 🙂

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