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Sour Chocolate-Rhubarb Fizz. Food styling by Victoria Walsh.

Liam Mogan/The Globe and Mail

A trendy rhubarb shrub (or drinking vinegar) is laced with powdered cocoa to create the sweet and sour base for this refreshing spring cocktail. Serve it with nuts or canapés as a prelude to a meal, whether it's chocolate-heavy or not.

Servings: 1

Ready time: 20 minutes (plus 3 to 4 days to make shrub)

Shrub

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (about 4 to 5 stalks)

1 1/4 cups champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp sifted cocoa

1 cup water

Cocktail

1/2 ounce chocolate-rhubarb shrub

1 ounce gin

Ice cubes

3 to 4 ounces club soda

2 dashes Peychaud bitters

(optional)

1 or 2 rhubarb stalks for garnishing (optional)

Method

To make the shrub, place rhubarb in a resealable container. Pour in vinegar, making sure rhubarb is submerged. Seal the container and let stand in a cool, dark place until rhubarb flavour infuses (3 to 4 days). Shake daily.

Once the vinegar is infused with rhubarb flavour, fine-strain the liquid through a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth into a bowl. Discard the chopped rhubarb. In a bowl, whisk sugar with cocoa until they’re evenly mixed. Place sugar-cocoa mixture in a small saucepan and whisk in water. Set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar infusion. Let cool completely. If making ahead, rhubarb-cocoa shrub will keep covered and refrigerated for at least 2 weeks.

To prepare the garnish, use a vegetable peeler to pull thin strips from rhubarb. Place in a bowl filled with ice and water. Refrigerate until curly (about 30 minutes).

To prepare the cocktail, pour the shrub, gin and bitters into a tall chilled glass. Add ice, then top with club soda. Stir until mixed. Garnish the cocktail with rhubarb curls. Serve immediately with a spoon to stir.

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