If you haven’t been hitting the Calgary cocktail scene lately, have no fear. That’s why I’m here! Last week, I popped into two new restos down in Mission, Añejo and Candela. A quick peek at the drink menu in both establishments revealed one of my favourite Alberta ingredients… rhubarb! Except I’ve never had them in cocktails before. With the ingredient showing up on the drink menu of two of Calgary’s newest eateries, there really was no other choice but to sample them both and declare a cocktail rumble!
In corner #1, the strawberry rhubarb margarita from Añejo. Made with Blanco, Triple Sec, fresh strawberry, rhubarb bitters, agave, fresh lime and sugar and salt on the rim.
In corner #2, the rhubarb mojito at Candela Lounge. Fresh rhubarb muddled with mint and lime and shaken with white rum.
Strawberry rhubarb margarita. It’s like Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb jam all over again! Well, except for the part where I couldn’t really taste the rhubarb bitters. This was very much a strawberry margarita. If you like a strong, fresh strawberry flavour and non-slushy margaritas, this may very well be a drink you want to try. I found the strawberry overpowered the other flavours that may’ve come out otherwise from the agave, lime, or citrus taste in the Triple Sec. Bonus: Presentation. If this were simply a cocktail beauty pageant, the strawberry rhubarb margarita all the way.
Rhubarb mojito. No bitter resentments here! Actually, just no bitters period. This drink uses fresh rhubarb. I like that it’s kept the focus on my favourite red stalk. Rhubarb in and of itself has a more subtle flavour. Pairing this with mint and a bit of lime juice mojito-style was a smart way to feature it. Less ingredients, more simplicity. I could taste each of the elements in this drink. It’s weak point is in the aesthetics. Sorry rhubarb mojito, you just couldn’t compete with the vibrant red of your margarita competitor.
While flavour and style depend entirely on the palate of the drinker, I typically enjoy the less sweet, more simple drinks. I raise my glass to the Rhubarb Mojito from Candela!