Strawberry Rhubarb Sundowner

Lillet apertif

I love the word ‘sundowner.’ Actually, I love the thing itself even more. The first time my friend Patrick invited me to join him for a sundowner, I had no idea what he meant. But I think that was the night I fell in love with Cape Town.  How could I not love a place that has a word to describe the drink you imbibe while watching the sun set?

Sitting on a terrace, sipping a cocktail, watching the sun go down over the water. Such a luxury. But the ubiquity of the Cape Town sundowner made the beauty of such moments an every day enjoyment. Jeff talks about instituting cocktail hour in our house. Sitting on our deck sipping a sundowner sounds wonderful. We may not have the ocean or mountains of Cape Town, but our back yard will do.

And this cocktail is the perfect spring sundowner. It’s finally strawberry season here in New England, and I’ve been sneaking strawberries into every dish and glass since I went berry picking last weekend. The strawberry rhubarb base here is barely sweet, and slightly tart.  If you haven’t tried Lillet, give it a shot. It’s a French aperitif, slightly sweet, with the flavors of oak, citrus and herb. I really enjoy it on its own over ice, but it marries well with the strawberries and rhubarb for an impressively pretty drink.

With fresh strawberries overflowing from the markets these days, it’s no wonder that so many folks are sharing beautiful berry recipes. Devaki at Weave a Thousand Flavors is collecting strawberry recipes this month, and has a wonderful strawberry crumble cake of her own to share.  Check it out here.

fresh strawberries

Strawberry Rhubarb Sundowner

Serves 4

1/2 cup chopped fresh rhubarb

1/2 cup chopped fresh hulled strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar

8 ounces Lillet

8 ounces seltzer or club soda

additional strawberries for garnish

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft, about 15 minutes.  Cool.  Once the fruit mixture is cooled, in each of four glasses stir one quarter of the fruit mixture with two ounces of Lillet.  Add plenty of ice and top with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with extra berries.

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm  Comments (22)  
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