Some of you may have noticed I have a new header. It had long irked me that in the back of the original photo, I could see a chair leg and a box. I’m sure no one else really noticed, but I did. So, when the uber talented Leah Hennel (a friend and photographer with the Herald; check out her website) asked to do a 1940s-style, black and white shoot with me, I asked in return if she would be willing to reshoot my masthead. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Looks cleaner, neater and the reds pop way more. I’d love to know what everyone thinks!

I’ve included one of her b&w shots of me below the recipe if anyone is curious. Plus, I had her take a new shot for my “What It’s All About” page, which you can see here.

(One last note: the new header has nothing to do with the catty remarks I wrote about in this post. You will note that my “pleasantly plump” calves, red shoes and red bowl are still very much key elements in the masthead. Because that’s the way I like it.)

Last fall, I drove home to the West Coast for three weeks to chill out with family and friends and take a small side trip to Long Beach. As part of that, I stopped over on Galiano Island for a night to hang out with my grandparents, who have lived on the island for almost as long as I can remember. My grandmother is an amazing gardener and cook. And, man, she knows a good cocktail.

In the late afternoon sunshine, we sat out on the back deck, surveying the expanse of grass, the pond and outbuildings while sipping rhubarb-vodka cocktails. It tasted just like summer. The sour-sweet of rhubarb, bite of vodka and soda fizz was perfection. I had two.

Foxy Lady Rhubarb Cocktail II

So, after I left I found myself thinking often of these cocktails and that early fall afternoon. When rhubarb reappeared at the farmer’s market this spring, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

The beauty of making rhubarb syrup is that you get the gorgeous pink syrup for drinks and the stewed fruit left behind is equally delicious. I like it over plain yogurt, but did indulge once or twice in having it with a healthy dollop of whipped cream.

I also made extra syrup for a pregnant friend. Just mixed with soda, it’s a great mocktail for the summer season.

You may wonder about the name of the drink. My grandmother’s nickname (for which I have no explanation) is Foxy Lady. It only seemed right to name the drink after her.


Sliced Rhubarb

Stewed rhubarb

Draining the rhubarb

Rhubarb Syrup

Rhubarb and yogurt

Foxy Lady Rhubarb Cocktail

Rhubarb Syrup

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup water
  • Sugar to taste (up to 1 cup, depending on how sour the rhubarb is)

In a saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the fruit is soft and the liquid is pink and slightly syrup-like. Add sugar and stir. I started with 1/2 cup. Let it dissolve for a minute and then taste the syrup. Add more sugar if desired. I wouldn’t go much more than a cup, though because rhubarb should be a little tart.

Using a fine strainer set over a bowl, separate the solid rhubarb from the syrup. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to fully drain the rhubarb. Pour the syrup into a container and refrigerate. Scoop the stewed fruit into a separate container and refrigerate.

The stewed fruit is fantastic over plain yogurt or ice cream or topped with a dollop or two of sweetened whipped cream.

Foxy Lady Rhubarb Cocktails

  • 1 part vodka
  • 2-3 parts rhubarb syrup
  • 1 part soda water

In a tall glass, mix together the vodka and syrup. Top with soda and a couple of ice cubes. Stir gently. Serve.

This also makes a fantastic mocktail if you just omit the vodka.

B&W shot by Leah Hennel