Easy Rhubarb Syrup (for drinks of all kinds!)

By Amanda Paa – Updated July 12, 2022
5 from 9 votes
This vibrant rhubarb simple syrup is great for mixing into cocktails and mocktails! It's sweet and tart, with lovely rhubarb and vanilla bean flavor. All real ingredients used, easy to make in 30 minutes. I love to stir rhubarb syrup into sparkling water and lemonade, and for making margaritas, mimosas, and gin & tonics.
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rhubarb margarita in clear glass

There are many ways I love to eat rhubarb; from gluten-free rhubarb muffins to oatmeal crumble bars with a jammy filling. But what about a way to drink rhubarb?

That’s where this rhubarb simple syrup comes in, for all your beverage needs, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Infused with vanilla bean and cardamom as it simmers, this simple syrup is sweet and slightly tart with delicate rhubarb flavor. And the ruby red color is magical in its own right.

This recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes – all you need is a sauce pot and fine mesh strainer.

Delicious ways to use homemade rhubarb syrup:

  1. Mix with seltzer water or club soda for a refreshing mid-day drink.
  2. Stir it into fresh-squeezed lemonade.
  3. Make a rhubarb margarita with it!
  4. Make a mimosa with it for weekend brunch. Instead of orange juice, add 2 ounces of rhubarb syrup to each glass, then top with champagne/prosecco/cava.
  5. Love French 75’s? Swap rhubarb syrup for the strawberry puree in this recipe.
  6. Use it to make Italian sodas for the kids or girls night in.
rhubarb syrup, close up photo

Rhubarb Simple Syrup Ingredients:

How to Make Rhubarb Syrup:

  • Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks. Add to a sauce pot with water, sugar, salt, vanilla bean, and cardamom.
  • Simmer on medium low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely broken down and juices have released.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes, then strain syrup into bowl, pressing down lightly onto rhubarb mixture to get juices out.
  • Stir lemon juice into rhubarb syrup, and pour into a beverage bottle for storage. I like to use glass bottles that have a swing top, or I reuse glass liquor bottles.
rhubarb cooked down in a pot
Rhubarb after simmering. This is what it should look like before straining.
straining rhubarb to make rhubarb syrup

Can You Freeze Rhubarb Syrup?

Yes! Rhubarb syrup can be easily frozen to preserve it for 6-8 months. Simply pour the finished syrup into a glass storage bottle or jar, leaving about 2 inches from the top to leave room for expansion when it freezes and thaws. To use, simply remove bottle from freezer and let thaw on the counter.

What to look for when buying or picking rhubarb:

Rhubarb differs slightly in color depending on the variety, the stalks ranging from green, pink, and red. Red stemmed types are not necessarily sweeter, because color and sweetness are not always related. But they do make for prettier desserts and give this rhubarb syrup the prettiest ruby red hue, so if you’re going for looks, try to find a red or pink variety.

Rhubarb is most tender and flavorful in spring and early summer but can be used throughout the season. Select firm, crisp stalks when they are 8 to 15 inches long. To harvest, twist off the leaf stalk at the soil line rather than taking a knife and cutting near the roots. Finally, cut off the leaf.

rhubarb simple syrup in glass bottle with flowers behind it.

More Rhubarb Recipes:

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rhubarb simple syrup in glass bottle with label on it

Easy Rhubarb Syrup (for drinks!)

This vibrant rhubarb simple syrup is great for mixing into cocktails and mocktails! It's sweet and tart, with lovely rhubarb and vanilla bean flavor. All real ingredients, easy to make in 30 minutes. Stir into sparkling water and lemonade, and or use for making margaritas, mimosas, and gin & tonics.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :20 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) water
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 1/2 of one vanilla bean, split open
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • big pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Add rhubarb, water sugar, salt, vanilla bean, and cardamom to a sauce pot.
  • Simmer on medium low for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely broken down and juices have released.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes then strain syrup into bowl, pressing down lightly onto rhubarb mixture to get juices out. (Save the jammy mixture that is left for yogurt and ice cream – it’s delicious too!
  • Stir lemon juice into rhubarb syrup then pour into a clean beverage bottle for storage. I like to use glass bottles that have a swing top, or I reuse glass liquor bottles.
  • Syrup will last in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks, or in freezer for several months.

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May 31, 2022

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19 comments

  1. Britt

    Hi there, it’s time to start my rhubarb harvest, as I was looking for inspiration I came across your recipe. Is it possible to sub honey or maple syrup in for the sugar? Thanks!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! Honey or maple syrup will overpower the rhubarb flavor so I do not recommend.

  2. Juses

    Can this recipe be canned ?

  3. Kathryn Moldstad

    5 stars
    Delicious! I prefer a bit less sugar for a more tart flavor…but it’s sooo good! Many rhubarb margaritas coming my way this summer!

  4. Brian J Hostetler

    5 stars
    As a general rule, the shelf (refrigerator) life of simple syrup can be extended, up to three months or longer, by:
    1. Making a richer syrup — increasing the ratio of sugar to water to 1:1 or higher, while remembering to adjust the recipe to reflect the higher sugar content, e.g., instead of one ounce of 0.5:1 syrup, one-half ounce of 1:1 syrup.
    2. Adding vodka or other spirit to create a 1:8 alcohol: syrup ratio.
    3. Sanitizing the container, which requires time and effort and runs the risk of not doing it properly.

  5. Dee

    Can I use frozen rhubarb if I don’t have fresh? If so, would I use use less water?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Dee! Frozen rhubarb will work great for this simple syrup. I would make use an ounce or two less water, but it shouldn’t affect the recipe much.

  6. Alison

    I dont have vanilla bean, can I just use vanilla extract?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! You won’t get a lot of the flavor out of the extract, but you can certainly add about a 1/2 teaspoon after you remove it from the heat. The vanilla bean has a distinct floral, rich note that the extract doesn’t have.

  7. Kimberly Brown

    5 stars
    This really is wonderful syrup! The spices in it are just perfect. I have made 10 quarts so far. I use it to flavor sparkling water from my soda stream, and I am going to be very sad when the rhubarb runs out! I have used the left over pulp in vanilla frozen yogurt and ice cream. How refreshing!

    • Amanda Paa

      I’m sad that my rhubarb is winding down, too!! I’m so glad you like the rhubarb syrup, 10 quarts is incredible!

  8. Nancy Street

    5 stars
    Simple and delicious. I adore the spice flavors. By the way, I’ve used the “discard jam” as an addition to muffins. It adds a nice flavor.

    • Amanda Paa

      Great to hear, Nancy!

  9. Anna

    5 stars
    Super easy and delicious! I used it in a margarita and it was amazing. Thank you!

    • Amanda Paa

      yay, that’s what i love using it to make as well!

  10. Carla

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Comes together so well and the fact that it can be used in ways for the whole family to enjoy is a great bonus.

    • Amanda Paa

      yay, glad to hear it! and your photo of the syrup on instagram was beautiful!

  11. Amy

    5 stars
    Tastes like summer! Super easy and versatile recipe. Good way to savor rhubarb for the rhubarb lover

    • Amanda Paa

      glad to hear you liked it, Amy!