Rhubarb Syrup: Chardon

I first saw our next drink, the Chardon, in a write up on the Class of 2010 Bar Stars in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 16. The article shines the spotlight on five outstanding bartenders in San Francisco. This drink is a creation of Jose Zepeda at RN74. The combination of rhubarb syrup with Cynar piqued my interest. Sometimes that is all that is necessary.


1 1/2 ounces gin (Hendricks) 
1/2 ounce Cynar
1/2 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce rhubarb syrup

Shake ingredients in an ice-filled shaker.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon twist

The aroma of this drink is full of the bright citrus flavor of the lemon and the cucumber flavors of the Hendricks. The most distinctive flavor on first taste is from the gin, which makes sense since it was so recognizable in the nose. The citrus then takes over. The drink is quite tart, though I am not sure if due completely to the lemon or if the rhubarb is also playing a part. I was quite surprised by the level of tartness as I figured the half ounce of lemon juice would be more than balanced by the three-quarters ounce of syrup with the sweetness of the Cynar in addition. If anything I would have guessed that the flavors might have wavered out of balance on the too-sweet side, but that is definitely not the case. Tracy pointed out that my lemon might have been extremely sour, and that definitely would be possible. The herbal flavors of the amaro come into play on the swallow, which is quite dry. There is a lingering flavor of dried fruits, an almost raisiny taste, though I am not quite sure what is making this occur. The texture of the drink is much richer than a conventional gin sour--unless you are using gomme syrup--and I have this feeling that the pectin from rhubarb might be the culprit. As the drink warms, the rhubarb becomes more apparent, though not overly so. All in all, this is a very fine pink gin sour. I think that the drink was a bit unbalanced in favor of tartness, but on a hot sunny day that might be just what is needed. 

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