Recently my husband, our daughter, and I took a fun-packed trip to Scotland and England to visit our family and friends. After spending a weekend in London we decided to take a drive to the countryside and have a decadent lunch in the very lovely but “is-this-really-real?” town of Bray. It’s kind of almost too gorgeous to believe.
Some of you may know, or not, that Bray is home to Heston Blumethal’s famous restaurant The Fat Duck. Before you get all atwitter, we did not dine there (um, our daughter is 2 years old, so that was completely out of the question). Bray is also home to The Fat Duck’ sister restaurant, The Hinds Head. Which is really more of a fancy gastropub.
And, on a side note, last but not least, Bray is home to a crazy swan (mute swan) who chased us from the river through the town. I’m not kidding! Who knew swans could be crazy? It took us the entire rest of the trip to convince my daughter that there are also nice swans, such as the ones that live in the pond across from her Grandpa’s house in Edinburgh.
Anyway, back to our fancy lunch at The Hinds Head. It was gorgeous and yummy and such a treat. Some of the highlights were the handmade Scotch eggs made with quail eggs, a very upscale fish pie, and Blumenthal’s famous thrice-fried chips. But one of the best things I has was my poached rhubarb and vanilla champagne cocktail I got before lunch when we were sitting in the very atmospheric bar.
This recipe is an ode to that lovely day and my fancy cocktail, a simplified version of orange-spiked rhubarb syrup topped up with Prosecco.
The recipe makes a little more syrup than you’ll need for 1 bottle of Prosecco (it makes about 1 1/3 cup; for 1 bottle Prosecco you need about 3/4 to 1 cup) but the syrup keeps nicely in the fridge for about a week. Use it for lots of other things: make rhubarb soda by adding it to fizzy water, drizzle it over your yogurt, or drizzle it over vanilla pound cake or angel food cake and whipped cream. If you want to use the rhubarb pulp, remove the orange zest, let it cool and then refrigerate it for up to 3 days. You can then stir a big dollop of it into plain or vanilla yogurt for a yummy rhubarb treat!
Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail
- Remove the zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler, being sure to avoid too much of the white pith.
- Add the rhubarb, orange zest and juice, sugar, and water to a saucepan, stir together, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit is very soft and the liquid has become syrupy, about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Let cool completely then refrigerate until chilled. Keep the pulp for another purpose or discard.