mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | on embracing the crazy-faith

cocktails, drinks, fruits, spring, whiskey

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So, what’s the craziest dream you’ve ever dreamed?

You know, the one that wakes you up in the middle of the night and compels you to turn on the light that’s resting on the nightstand, all flustered and sweaty, in order to write down its contents in a scribbled, shaky, illegible scrawl. Chasing your pencil. The kind of harried writing that begs a shot of something strong. Whiskey-strong. You’re wide awake; you know what you want; you’re ready.

This is what life should be about, right? I know it’s kind of heady for a Saturday morning, but this is no ordinary, Saturday morning. Dude, I didn’t even mean to make a parallel here with the Kentucky Derby. I promise that I didn’t, but it so fits. I don’t know that much history on the Derby, but I do know that today’s particular, racing combination of horse and human is known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

I don’t have a horse on the line; perhaps, you do. And I wish you the best of luck. Luck. The very definition of the word means “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” I’ve been thinking about the term lately. And as a result, I’m choosing to use its placement in my conversation more wisely.

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

Perhaps you get a raise at work or grow an amazing peony bush in your garden, but someone says, “Damn, you’re so lucky. Your flowers look amazing.” Or, “Gee, you surely do know how to get the higher-ups to listen to you. Luck surely follows you.”

I’m here to tell you that yes, it can be all about luck, but it definitely starts with a clear mindset, a lot of hard work, and serious follow-through. I subtitled this post, “on embracing the crazy-faith”, based on a speech I heard, when I attended the Hello Sessions this past fall in Portland, Oregon. Tiffany Han was the keynote speaker, and her words left a mark on me, when she said to “embrace the crazy-faith and realize that there’s enough to go around: there’s enough for all of us.”

I have kind of adopted that line of logic over the past few weeks, and although I can’t divulge what may be in store for me and Steve, I can say that the result is totally connected to embracing the crazy-faith and making a dream a reality. I can’t wait to share more about this  soon.

Instead, I’m sharing a method I followed last year, when I received a handful of rhubarb last May. My friend, Nate’s mom grows rhubarb here in Denver {much better than I do!}, and she had a surplus of it. He brought some to work and shared it with me. I told him that I would reciprocate and make something of it, so I made rhubarb liqueur for him. This is the recipe that resulted.

nate’s rhubarb liqueur

  • 2 1/2 cups diced organic rhubarb
  • 1 3/4 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups vodka {I used Ketel One}
  1. In a large mason jar, combine the diced rhubarb, cane sugar, and vodka. Stir well, seal,  place in a dark, cool area, such as a lower cabinet or basement.
  2. Shake the mixture well and continue shaking daily, over the course of two weeks.
  3. Using a chinois or fine-mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a clean mason jar or decorative, easy-to-seal glass container.
  4. Label and store in the refrigerator for up to a year.
  • This recipe yields about one quart of rhubarb liqueur. Make sure to store in the refrigerator. It will last for up to one year.
  • Use this liqueur in cocktails, such as this one, or tossed in glasses of sparkling wine or lemonade or soda water.

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

Be sure to shake your rhubarb liqueur each day, in order to integrate the sugars, alcohols, and fruit. You’ll get a stronger, more cohesive rhubarb liqueur that will pair perfectly with any strawberry-based cocktail you make this summer.

I’m already planning a rhubarb gin fizz, a bubbly rhubarb cocktail, and a riff on a mojito. Kind of like what I did last year. But different.

Different is GOOD. Different makes change happen. It questions the norm. It shakes the foundation. It creates a different vantage point. It brings new dimension, new perspective, new depth. I’m ready for this change. How are you embracing the NEWNESS within? How are you challenging the antiquated and the stagnant around you?


mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & floratrial

A traditional mint julep usually calls for  a handful of mint leaves, 2 1/2 ounces of bourbon whiskey, and a half ounce of simple syrup. I modified the recipe a little and added some rhubarb liqueur and a bit of fresh tarragon leaves. The tarragon leaves add just the right amount of complexity, a licorice note that complements the celery-like components of the rhubarb and the brightness of the spring strawberries. I find this julep iteration most compelling and multi-dimensional.

mint julep with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon

  • 1 strawberry, hulled and sliced, plus any additional for garnish
  • 3/4 ounce rhubarb liqueur {see recipe above}
  • handful of mint leaves, plus a sprig or 2 for garnish
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon {I used Breckenridge}
  • ice, both cubed and crushed
  • tarragon sprigs, for garnish
  1. In a mixing tin or cocktail glass, muddle the strawberry and mint, along with the rhubarb liqueur. Muddle until well pulverized.
  2. Add cubed ice and bourbon. Stir until well chilled.
  3. Strain, using a julep strainer, into cocktail glasses or julep glasses, filled with crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with strawberry slices, mint sprigs, and tarragon sprigs. Additionally, add a rhubarb spear, if you have any on hand.
  5. Cheers!!
  • This cocktail recipe serves one person and is easily doubled.
  • Depending upon the ripeness and sweetness of your strawberries, you may add a dash of agave nectar for an additional sweet kick.
  • Top with a little ginger beer for a more diluted cocktail.

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & floramint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

So, far more exciting than the results of the Kentucky Derby, what are you positing? What do you want to create and accomplish? Even if you don’t yet have a means to your end, what would you do, without any societal or monetary constraints? What if you had no limits? Write that shit down. Sit on it. Meditate on it and toss it around. Put it through the paper shredder, ferment it, and digest it. And then sit with it again.


Don’t quit your daydream. Use the resources you have, but give back to them. See how you can live, in tandem, with the current situation you endure. There is a return on what you are doing right now. It is preparing you for your next move. And what I am doing is preparing me for mine.

So, embrace that “crazy-faith”, that thing that everyone else calls you out on, that idea that you second-guess, that product you can’t stop thinking about. And run with it. Like the wind. Like Gun Runner. That’s who I think will make a win tomorrow.

Closing, again, with some snippets from the garden this afternoon: late-spring tulips, proliferating mint, sprawling sedum, fragrant lilac, untamed borders, new fences, and freshly picked herbs.

Big thoughts, high hopes, unfaltering values, and unyielding dreams,


mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

  1. jaime says:

    hell yes. loving the unmistakable positivity and momentum oozing from your words here. whatever you’ve got in store, i wish you the very best!

    • Thanks so much, Jaime!! I’m laughing because I kinda went off on a rant of sorts…but it was authentic and emphatic! 😜 Seriously, though, it is sometimes hard to generate that positivity, so when it is there, run with it, right? Thanks for the well wishes. PS – I love your IG account. Cat swoon!! 💞

  2. Susan says:

    Lovely. And I just cut my first two big fistfuls of rhubarb this morning. I was going to do a little crisp first, but I’ll definitely get likkered up real soon. Thanks!

    • SUSAN!! i swear I’m not dead. Life has been a whirlwind lately, and I’m finally getting back with you. What did you do with your rhubarb? I made another batch of the liqueur, and I have a rhubarb shrub on the books. I am really feeling a jam-making sesh coming on. You’ll have to make a batch of this. I just heard back from a friend of mine, a recent recipient of this particular liqueur, that it was a hit. Let me know – honestly – what you think of it, if you choose to give it a go! I actually let my most recent liqueur sit for almost four weeks, and it turned out beautifully. I hope you are soaking up the season! XO!

  3. Reblogging this one! I just found your blog and am in love…awesome.

  4. Reblogged this on CRAVE and commented:
    I was perusing some blogs today and found this beautiful blog, Holly and Flora. Check it out if you get a chance. And seeing as the summer months are here…or at least the weather sure is looking like it, check out this amazing cocktail recipe using fresh rhubarb. This looks so good ! I can’t wait to dive deeper into this blog.

  5. littleboxbrownie says:

    Rhubarb is my favourite winter ingredient. I always just make an apple and rhubarb crumble, but I’ll have to give this drink ago.

    • It sounds like I need to make a rhubarb apple crumble. That sounds amazing!! This particular recipe for the liqueur is beyond easy and stretches out rhubarb season even further. Cheers!!

  6. […] recently wrote a post about chasing dreams, and more and more, I question how different and challenging the very thought of “chasing […]

  7. Corran says:

    Wow! I’ve just discovered your blog and I love your posts. The images are so beautiful! The rhubarb liqueur in this sounds delicious, I may have to try this out.

    C x

  8. […] full fat coconut milk 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice 3/4 oz rhubarb liqueur 1 oz rosé 1 strawberry, sliced […]

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