This oh-so-pretty rhubarb mocktail is light and fresh, with the perfect amount of sweetness from a honey simple syrup. An easy to make non-alcoholic drink perfect for parties and summer BBQs, making the most of this seasonal vegetable.
At a recent family BBQ in the early spring sunshine I noticed one thing - all but two of us were having fruity non-alcoholic drinks. And that of course included the kids who felt very special with a little mocktail or fruity fizz in their hands!
Mocktail recipes are a bit of a passion of mine as I don't drink alcohol, so there are lots to choose from here including my blueberry mocktail and peach mocktail for summer, and my blackberry mocktail which is lovely for fall. And for the festive season it has to be my cranberry mocktail of course!
This fun drink uses a rhubarb syrup that is perfectly sweet and then adds sparkling water for some bubbles. It really makes the most of the rhubarb that is abundant in the spring and summer months! If you can drink alcohol then it's easy to make a rhubarb syrup cocktail if you add a dash of gin.
Why this recipe is so good
Seasonal drink. If you have a rhubarb plant yourself then this will make the most of those pretty pink stems! Although store bought is good too, and should be very affordable in season.
Simple ingredients. Aside from the rhubarb, this mocktail uses pantry staples and just a few of them.
Easy to make. All we do is make a simple syrup and then top with ice and some bubbles. No tricky steps to navigate!
This rhubarb drink uses just a few ingredients, and perhaps one can be growing in your back yard! All are set out in the recipe card below, but some pointers on a few of them:
- Rhubarb - the pretty pink stems are the basis of this drink and it's lovely colour. Be sure to choose fresh stems that aren't discoloured or with obvious markings (and definitely given them a wash in case there are creepy crawlies hanging around . . . ).
- Sparkling water - I suggest using a plain sparkling water rather than flavoured or a heavy mineralised one as that would overpower the rhubarb flavours.
- Honey - it's best, and easiest, to use a runny honey rather than a set honey.
Step by step instructions
Dice the rhubarb into small pieces (image 1). Around a cm thick is fine but don't worry about them being even in size as they will break down when heated. Saying that, don't make them too big!
Add the rhubarb, basil, honey and still water to a saucepan (image 2).
Recipe tip: you will need a fairly sharp knife to dice the rhubarb as it is quite fibrous.
Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very light simmer. Allow to cook for around 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb should break down and become a soupy mixture (image 3).
The only slightly fiddly bit . Place a fine mesh sieve over a glass bowl, and then spoon the rhubarb mixture into the sieve. Press the mixture through the sieve with a wooden spoon if required (image 4). Discard the thicker mixture and basil leaves that are left in the sieve and use the syrup that is in the bowl.
Once cooled, divide the rhubarb syrup into your glasses (this recipe makes 2 mocktails), top with ice and then pour on the sparkling water. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Recipe tips and notes
- Adjust the sweetness. Rhubarb is naturally a little sour so will need the honey to balance the flavours and add some sweetness. Saying that, we all like a different level of sweetness. Adjust the amount of honey to preference.
- Prep in advance. Once your syrup in cooled, have your ice and sparkling water to hand, and prepare the drink just before serving.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can easily use frozen rhubarb. It will likely release a little liquid so you may need less of the still water to make the simple syrup.
Definitely! Using rosemary would also be lovely.
While it tastes sweet when combined with honey or another sweetener, rhubarb is actually a vegetable.
Rhubarb is slightly debated on a low histamine diet. The SIGHI list rates rhubarb as '1' on a range of 0-3, with 3 being high histamine. There is a note on the list stating 'Controversial. Often well tolerated. Oxalic acid' (SIGHI list).
More mocktails to enjoy
- 3 cups rhubarb diced
- 1 small handful basil leaves
- 3 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup still water
- sparkling water
- ice cubes
- Dice the rhubarb into small pieces.
- Add the rhubarb, honey, still water and basil to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer on low for 12 minutes or until the rhubarb has broken down and looks 'soupy' in texture. Set aside to cool.
- Strain the rhubarb mixture through a fine mesh sieve placed over a glass bowl. Use the rhubarb mixture that has passed through the sieve, discarding the mixture left in the sieve.
- Add around ½ inch of the syrup to your glasses, and top with ice. Pour on the sparkling water. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Dice the rhubarb quite roughly, it doesn't have to be even in size.
- If the rhubarb isn't breaking down (it should do), use the back of a wooden spoon to help it along.
- If you like a very sweet mocktail add another tablespoon of honey to the pan.
- Basil can be swapped out for rosemary if you prefer.
- rhubarb, which scores 1. There is a note stating 'Controversial. Often well tolerated. Oxalic acid'.
- sparkling water isn't rated.