A few weeks ago in Portland, Oregon at a conference, I had a fantastic cocktail called the Bonnie Wee Lass at a fun pub called the Raven & Rose near Portland State University with Sharon Block, Monica Fitzgerald, Rachel Hope Cleeves, and Leslie Paris.
The drink featured the relatively exotic but completely delicious ingredients of Hendrick’s gin, lemon juice, rhubarb syrup, and rose water, and appeared in the most appealing shade of baby pink. I’m pleased to report that I’ve cracked the recipe code on this one, although the photo at left doesn’t do the color justice.
In any case, here’s the recipe, including instructions for making or procuring rhubarb syrup and rose water:
In a cocktail shaker with four ice cubes, mix up the following:
- 1/2 C Hendrick’s gin
- 1/2 C rhubarb syrup*
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 t rose water**
Shake till cold, strain, and serve in a little vintage martini glass like they do at the Raven & Rose, or in whatever glassware pleases you. Serves 2. (It fit perfectly into my grandmother’s vintage Southern Comfort glasses.) I like cocktails that are wetter rather than more alcoholic, and more herbal and fragrant than most. This one is sweet, but not cloyingly so. Feel free to chuck a few ice cubes into it if you like–who’s to know?
*rhubarb syrup: Dice a bunch of rhubarb into 1/2 inch cubes and mix with granulated white sugar, 1/4 C of sugar per 1 C of diced rhubarb. Cover & let it sit 24 hours on the counter. Strain off the rhubarb syrup–to make 2 drinks you’ll need at least 2 C of rhubarb, which will yield about 1/2 C of syrup. You can now make a pie, cobbler, crunch, or crumble with the rhubarb. Be aware it will require far less sugar now that it’s been soaking in cane sugar for 24 hours, so taste as you go.
**rose water: This is available in most middle-eastern markets. If you live in a small North American town, these may be hard to come by. I tried (but failed) to find them at the Somali market in town, and finally had success at the local middle eastern restaurant, which sold me a bottle for $6.39! N.B. Fratguy urges less rose water, but it’s the lovely floral bouquet that I and my friends all thought was so yummy and a very important part of the experience. (It adds more scent than taste.)
Now for the fun part: help me find a better name for this cocktail! “Bonnie Wee Lass” sounds like something that should have scotch in it, but that’s hardly a summer beverage. We can do better–I think once my roses bloom this summer, I’ll garnish it with a few rose petals! What do you think about the “Betsy-Tacy?” I enjoyed it after all for the first time in the company of a bunch of women historians who are also like me women’s historians, some of whom are old friends and some of whom are new, and will forever remember them whenever I mix up one of these.