Summer Sips: Tart n’ Cool, A Cocktail

Mixing tart tastes with a cool feel comes together nicely in a summer cocktail. This week we’re mixing rhubarb (tart) with cucumber (cool) to produce a Tart n’ Cool: ideal as a docktail.

Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is often put to the same culinary uses as fruits. When someone says rhubarb pie, there is usually a sudden rise in spirit. Just the thought of that explosive tart flavor, makes one’s thoughts span to reminiscences of weekend picnics. 

The leaf stalks can be used raw, but as most of us know they are most commonly cooked with sugar and used in pies, crumbles and other desserts. 

The use of rhubarb stalks as food is a relatively recent innovation. This usage was first recorded in 18th to 19th-century England after affordable sugar became more widely available

Rhubarb offers lots of vitamins and minerals. It’s a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese. It’s loaded with calcium, and it’s also a good source of magnesium.

Cucumber fruits consist of 95% water. The cucumber is classified as a pepo, a type of botanical berry with a hard outer rind and no internal divisions. Much like tomatoes and squashes, it is often perceived, prepared, and eaten as a vegetable, with great versatility. They are recommended as an acid reflex remedy. It is low in essential nutrients, notable only for vitamin K at 16% of daily value. 

I’ll get to the recipe soon, but first, a poem to ponder while you’re mixing:

Rhubarb and cucumber
Go together
like love and marriage
and with the addition
of lemon juice and gin
there is nothing to disparage.

David Bruce Patterson

Tart ‘n Cool Cocktail


For the rhubarb syrup

1 cup fresh rhubarb, chopped

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

See options below

For the cocktail

1 1/2 oz. Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22

3/4 oz. rhubarb syrup

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

3 dashes Dillon’s Rhubarb bitters

2 oz. Soda water (options: iced green tea, coconut water) 

Cucumber slices (to muddle) and garnish


Feel free to add a splash of chili based hot sauce… check out Mad Gringo Hot Sauces (Barrie)

No. 7 Mexican Chile Pasilla (Toronto)

Yummies in a Jar (Baysville) Strawberry Rhubarb Jam on a cracker

Beat the Wheat Flatbread (Bracebridge)

Make a juice that adds character to the cocktail. Honeydew melon with a small piece of ginger root, pureed. Add ¼ oz. to drink.  (ratio ½ cup melon: 1/8” root)


1. Make the syrup. In a small saucepan add the rhubarb, sugar and water. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Remove from heat and mash the rhubarb with the back of a spoon. Let it cool and steep. Once cooled, strain into a jar pressing the rhubarb to get all the flavour.

2. In a mason jar, muddle 2 cucumber slices.

3. Add gin, syrup, lemon juice and bitters with ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10-15 seconds.

4. Add ice to fill your glass.

5. Strain cocktail into glass, top with soda water and garnish with cucumber slice or ribbon.

6. Enjoy!

Credits: Recipe / Photos Unsplash

About the Author: David Bruce Patterson is a Muskoka author, poet, and cocktail conoisseur. He finds it a stimulating challenge, rotating between novel writing, and poetry. “They meet somewhere in the middle,” he says. “The unknown genre.” David has completed his novel, Square Wheels, and is now working on Dorothy Parker and the Epigram Mysteries: Murder at Land’s End. David has also written more than 3000 poems and hopes to have an anthology out soon

David Patterson

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