Rhubarb Blueberry Basil Mocktail Recipe

Rhubarb is the unsung hero of the spring. You're used to hearing about strawberries, watermelon, and peaches — the beach blanket superstars — but rhubarb plays an important role in warm-weather produce, too. The window for buying the thick stalks of bitter red is notably short, making it even more crucial to make the most of it while you can. What makes rhubarb unusual compared to its vegetable counterparts is how both sweet and tart it is, and that it can't be eaten raw (well, it can, but you wouldn't want to). 

Even though rhubarb classifies as a vegetable, it fits in better with the fruits, pairing with the sweet flavors and vibrant colors in both desserts and savory applications. And in drinks? It serves as a tart companion to the flavors of the syrup, like lemon juice but less tangy. In this spirit-free mocktail recipe written with developer Michelle McGlinn, rhubarb is paired with blueberries and basil for a sweet, tart, and herbal spring drink. The flavors are layered with ginger beer for a drink that is effervescent and sweet — and not to mention, gorgeous to look at, too. And, if you do want to turn this mocktail into a cocktail, we've got tips and suggestions for spirits that will pair best below.

Gather the ingredients for rhubarb blueberry basil mocktails

As the name implies, you'll need fresh rhubarb, blueberries, and basil for this recipe. The best way to source rhubarb is to visit your local farmer's market or fruit stands and seek out long, thick stalks with ruby red coloring. You'll only be using the thick red stem, though — it's not safe to eat rhubarb leaves, and many producers will already have them removed. If you're looking for rhubarb in the grocery store, it might look a little more green, a little more thin, and a little bit shorter, but will still have the same tart flavor as farm-fresh. From there, you'll just need sugar, water, lemon juice, and ginger beer. If ginger beer is too spicy for your liking, swap for ginger ale or lemon-lime soda instead.

Step 1: Bring the syrup ingredients together

Combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan.

Step 2: Dissolve the sugar

Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Step 3: Simmer

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until rhubarb has lost its color and blueberries are broken down.

Step 4: Strain

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool.

Step 5: Muddle the basil

To make the mocktail, muddle the basil in the bottom of a glass.

Step 6: Fill with ice

Fill the glass with ice.

Step 7: Stir in the syrup and lemon

Add the syrup and lemon juice and stir.

Step 8: Top with ginger beer

Top with ginger beer.

Step 9: Garnish and serve

Garnish with rhubarb to serve.

If I want to turn this mocktail into a cocktail, which spirit should I add?

We know — so many mocktails can feel like a glass of juice or a well-disguised smoothie. This one is designed specifically to feel like a typical cocktail, complete with muddling, syrups, and some effervescence. Because it's built the same way as a cocktail, it's also easy to add your favorite spirits. The easiest spirit to add is vodka, which has a neutral flavor that enhances the sweet rhubarb-blueberry syrup. 

If you prefer the sharp taste of tequila, that also fits in here, but we recommend swapping the lemon for lime and the ginger beer for a more neutral flavor like soda water. Similarly, gin also works well in this cocktail, but should lean into the lemony flavors (as opposed to some gins' juniper) and should be topped with tonic instead. For a more demure, dark-liquor bramble, try brandy or bourbon whiskey. The caramel flavors bring forward the sweet blueberry and spicy ginger, making them the standouts of the drink instead.

What else can I use rhubarb-blueberry syrup for?

This recipe makes just under 1 cup of syrup, which can make up to 8 mocktails total. Since the syrup can be stored for two weeks in the refrigerator, we recommend making the full batch even if you're not planning to have more than one mocktail (plus, one can easily turn into two). If you don't use all of the syrup for this mocktail specifically, you can also add it to margaritas, spritzes, and mimosas for a splash of spring-sweet. You can also spread it over pancakes and waffles to make breakfast a little sweeter, or stir it into tea for a sweet-but-tart sweetener. If using it in tea, be sure to stir it into floral or fruity blends, where the rhubarb and blueberry can enhance the flavor rather than drown it out. If you're looking to be especially creative with your syrup, try swirling it into homemade fudge or no-churn ice cream — the rhubarb pairs well with both chocolate and vanilla.

Rhubarb Blueberry Basil Mocktail Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
Warm weather calls for cool, sippable beverages, and this rhubarb blueberry basil mocktail packs in plenty of refreshing flavors - no alcohol required.
Prep Time
7
minutes
Cook Time
12
minutes
Servings
1
Cocktail
rhubarb garnish on mocktail
Total time: 19 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the rhubarb-blueberry syrup
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • For the mocktail
  • 2 large basil leaves
  • 1 ounce rhubarb-blueberry syrup
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
Optional Ingredients
  • Peeled rhubarb, for garnish
Directions
  1. Combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until rhubarb has lost its color and blueberries are broken down.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool.
  5. To make the mocktail, muddle the basil in the bottom of a glass.
  6. Fill the glass with ice.
  7. Add the syrup and lemon juice and stir.
  8. Top with ginger beer.
  9. Garnish with rhubarb to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 999
Total Fat 0.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 256.9 g
Dietary Fiber 5.8 g
Total Sugars 243.3 g
Sodium 29.4 mg
Protein 2.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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