Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rhubarb-Fennel Pollen Fizz {#BrunchWeek, #giveaway}

It's #Brunchweek!  We're on the second day of our second annual week-long blogging event hosted by Terri of Love and Confections and Susan of The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen!

Join us this whole week - May 5th through 11th - while we celebrate the deliciousness of brunch and prepare for Mother's Day and the summer brunching season.  We are 32 bloggers strong, bringing you recipes for everything from cocktails to eggs benedict to donuts.

Our amazing sponsors have donated some great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. Click (here) to read about this fun event, the sponsors, and the giveaway!

I never considered myself a gin drinker. But after an Edible Monterey Bay assignment last year to a cocktail-making class (click to read my blogpost Shake, Rattle, & Roll: The Making of a Gin Drinker), I definitely use gin more frequently in my libations. So, for a #BrunchWeek2014 cocktail, I decided I would create a recipe with the springy flavors of rhubarb and fennel...with gin!

A quick note of thanks: I received a complimentary stainless steel muddler from #BrunchWeek sponsor OXO for participating in this week's festivities. While this is not a product-review post, I will say that this stainless steel muddler is heavy-duty. It did a fantastic job of muddling the fennel with its textured tip and it's long enough to muddle in a pint glass. I love it!

The most fun part of recipe development = trying all the variations

This is a three part recipe. One part you'll do the night before your brunch. The second part you'll do a couple of hours before the brunch. The last you do just before you hand a glass to your guest!  Cheers!

To do the night before...

Make a rhubarb syrup
  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1-1/2 C water
  • 1 vanilla pod
Trim both ends of the rhubarb stalks. Cut the stalks into 3/4"-1" pieces.

Put the sugar and water in a large flat-bottom pan. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the caviar from the inside of the pod with the dull side of the blade. Add the caviar and the pod to the pan. Bring it all to a simmer, stirring regularly as the sugar dissolves.

Add the rhubarb to the simmering syrup and allow the mixture to return to simmering point. Once the syrup simmers, cook for just 1-2 minutes, until the rhubarb pieces are soft but still holding their shape. Test the rhubarb with the tip of the knife.

Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon, leaving the syrup in the pan. Use the poached rhubarb as you  might use jam. Bring the syrup to a boil and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a sterilzed jar.

Make fennel frond cubes
  • fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • water
  • ice cube tray

Place a few fennel fronds in each hollow of the ice cube tray. Pour water over the top and freeze overnight or until solid.

To do a couple of hours before...

Muddle the fennel
  • 1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  • 12 ounces gin
First, prepare the gin. Add the fennel to a tall, narrow-mouthed glass jar, followed by about half of the gin. Using a muddler, vigorously muddle the fennel for a good couple of minutes. Add the remaining gin and stir. Let the infusion sit for at least an hour, although longer is better.

To hand the cocktail to your guest...
  • sparkling water
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • fennel pollen
For each drink...
  • 2 fennel bulb ice cubes
  • 2 oz fennel-infused gin
  • 2 oz rhubarb syrup
  • sparkling water
  • juice from 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 lemon slice
  • sprinkle of fennel pollen

For each cocktail, mix 2 oz rhubarb syrup with 2 oz gin and two regular ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Place 2 fennel bulb ice cubes into an old-fashioned glass or small mason jar. Strain the rhubarb-gin mixture into the glass. Squeeze lemon juice into the glass. Fill the rest of the glass with sparling water. Garnish with lemon slice and a sprinkle of fennel pollen. 

And here are the offerings for today...

Brunch Beverages:
Brunch Eggs:
Brunch Mains:
Brunch Sides:
Brunch Breads and Desserts:

Thanks again OXO - just one of the eleven sponsors -
for a kitchen tool used in this recipe.


  1. Rhubarb Syrup? YUMMO! My hubby would go crazy for these babies! Pinned! Happy Brunch Week!

  2. Yum! I can hardly wait now until my rhubarb comes up.

  3. I love the look of the ice cubes. It's always fun to put things in ice and have them melt into your drink

  4. What a cool combination of flavors! And I love the idea of putting flavors IN the ice cubes!

  5. What a fun cocktail for brunch! Love the herb-ice cubes

  6. Gin is a great base for a cocktail, and this one sounds fabulous! You really went all out


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