Hydrate with Sparkling Pink Rhubarb Lemonade

In Minnesota, rhubarb grows like dandelions and children–copious and tenacious. As a kid, I would pull the stalks from the ground, rinse them with the garden hose, and dip them in the jar of sugar on the counter. (Ssshhh! Don’t tell my mom!).

I had no idea that rhubarb was regional until I moved to Los Angeles. Our farmer’s market had the most gorgeous, locally grown fruits and vegetables, but little of the vegetation I was accustomed to as a midwesterner. I found rhubarb one Sunday morning among the asparagus and sweet peas and nearly cried. The grower was a woman from Michigan, who had transplanted her rhubarb from her parents‘ garden in Michigan and coaxed it to health in the desert climate. We talked and cried and waxed nostalgic. And I bought her expensive rhubarb ($7 a pound!) and made a free-form tart.

These days, I am back in Minnesota, where the rhubarb grows next to my driveway. This past weekend, I worked the first harvest into a rhubarb syrup, which I have been adding to sparkling water and homemade sour mix to make a perfectly sour, hydrating summer drink.

The rhubarb syrup can also be added to any number of refreshing cocktails. It is sour and slightly bitter, with some silkiness from the vanilla.

Hydration is important for runners, so give this recipe a whirl for something different.


Sparkling Pink Rhubarb Lemonade

  • 2 parts homemade sour mix
  • 2 parts sparkling water
  • 1 part rhubarb syrup

Combine ingredients in a glass with ice. Stir. Enjoy.

Rhubarb syrup

  • 4 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split

In a large pot, bring rhubarb, water, and vanilla bean to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until rhubarb is disintegrating.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Liquid will be thin and pink.
Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.

Homemade Sour Mix

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup organic orange juice
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a sealable jar. Shake to combine. Store in sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Some Cocktail Ideas:

Rhubarb Margarita

  • 2 parts sour mix
  • 2 parts tequila
  • 1 part cointreau
  • 1 part rhubarb syrup

Rhubarb Gin & Tonic

  • 2 parts gin
  • 2 parts sparkling water
  • 1 part sour mix
  • 1 part rhubarb syrup

Rhubarb Shandy

Equal parts sour mix, beer, and rhubarb syrup

What’s your favorite summer running beverage?


A mom, friend, cook, runner, most-days vegan and wanna-be yogi, practicing paying attention and falling for my life.

Michele also blogs about healthy eating over at http://hookandtumble.com/