“Best cocktail ever,” my wife said.

“I’ll have more,” said my best friend who is a vodka man. And a wine man, but not a cocktail man. Until now.

This recipe comes from Ireland, from Clodagh’s Supper. The key here is a rhubarb-orange syrup that you will make and then use over and over. Instead of sparkling wine, you can try gin. Or just add this syrup to lemonade.

I’m putting the original recipe for the syrup here. I’ve been experimenting with more rhubarb, more orange, more sugar. It all seems to work. If your rhubarb is kinds green, you will get a light green syrup. But if your rhubarb is fresh and red, the syrup is blood red.

My rhubarb was pretty green, so the picture here is pretty but not blood red. Be prepared for color variation.

The flavor? I agree with my wife. The best cocktail ever.

Sparkling Rhubarb Cocktail

Yield: serves 6-8


  • 1 ¾ cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • Chilled sparkling wine [prosecco is ideal here given its inherent sweetness]


To make the rhubarb syrup, place the rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest and juice in a saucepan and add a splash of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 15 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft.

As the rhubarb is cooking, use a pastry cutter to mash the rhubarb to try to extract all possible juice.

Strain the syrup into a pitcher, pressing the rhubarb, again to extract all the juice, then let cool.

Pour a little of the rhubarb syrup into each glass and top off with the chilled sparkling wine. You want a ratio of 1:3 of syrup to wine.

Source: Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna [Kyle, 2019]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑640