The Rabarbino at Trabocco Sparkles
This springtime concoction is all herbal effervescence.
Kevin Stein pours a Rabarbino, which riffs on the classic gin fizz but adds Prosecco as the bubbly.
Photo by Lori Eanes
Welcome to March, when gardens are flourishing, sunbeams are shining, and days are rich with promise. Spring has arrived, and so has a brilliant new cocktail from the inventive minds of bartenders Kevin Stein and Travis Burns at Alameda’s Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails. Warming, refreshing, and full of herbal flavor, the Rabarbino brings an air of Italian finery mixed with delicious rhubarb and toasted fennel seed. Drinks are inspired by both Italian and local elements at this upscale South Shore Center restaurant.
The Rabarbino is a twist on the classic gin fizz, using Prosecco instead of soda water. This draws in a bit of Italy, while the St. George Botanical Gin brings in a Bay Area distillery. It’s light strawberry in color, but fruit isn’t the main feature of this creative beverage. It’s the beautiful and balanced flavor and perfect amount of bubbly spritz. There’s a slight zing with each sip that makes it all the more springtime-fresh.
“We want to get the real brightness of the rhubarb, the tartness, and the nice licorice flavor of the fennel,” Burns said, and they do. “We thought it would be a good combination.”
Served in a Collins glass and garnished with a sprig of mint and a Luxardo maraschino cherry, the drink is light and showcases rhubarb’s piquant taste in a clever way. Quite frequently used as an ingredient in pies, crisps, and other baked goods, the rhubarb here is more elegant.
So what about the name? According to Stein, “It’s always the hardest part of the drink. Making [a cocktail] isn’t that hard, but creating a name that you’re proud of, that stands up to it, that’s rough.” In this case they took a cue from the restaurant and started with a bit of Italy (rhubarb is rabarbo in Italian) and added their own flare. It’s sort of the Alameda way of saying “little rhubarb.” But saying it is only the start of your fun. Next, you get to enjoy the drink.
Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails, 2213 South Shore Center, Alameda, 510-521-1152, www.Trabocco.com.
Just sweet enough.
(Makes about 8 ounces)
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup. Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate. It should keep for quite some time in the fridge.
A taste of spring.
2 ounces St. George Botanical Gin infused with toasted fennel seed
About 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce rhubarb simple syrup
1 ounce fresh egg whites
Garnish: mint sprig, Luxardo maraschino cherry
Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites to a shaker and shake. Then pour the mixture over 2 ounces of Prosecco in a Collins glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and a Luxardo maraschino cherry.