Spicy Strawberry Lemon Smash with Candied Rhubarb Twist

Crafted by Chef Paul Lillakas

Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Red Chili Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 thai, red or birds-eye chili pepper, halved
2 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 6-inch lengths, shaved into ribbons
8 ripe strawberries, sliced
Zirkova Together Vodka
Lemon juice
Sparkling water

Simple Syrup: In mason jar or heatproof container, stir together water and sugar. Microwave on high for until completely clear, about 2 minutes. Stir in chili pepper.

Candied Rhubarb Twists: Thinly shave ribbons of rhubarb with vegetable peeler. Soak ribbons in simple syrup for 10 minutes, shake off excess and lay out onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake in 200F oven until just dry to the touch, about 30 minutes. Working quickly, wrap around wooden spoon handle until cooled and crisp. Tip: some ribbons will be done before others. Return undercooked pieces to oven for 2 minutes at a time until ready for shaping. Use immediately.

To serve: Into martini shaker filled with ice, combine 1/4 cup red chili simple syrup, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 1/2 oz Zirkova vodka and two sliced strawberries. Shake vigorously until strawberries are completely smashed, about 30 seconds. Pour into chilled glass. Top up with sparkling water. Garnish with candied Rhubarb twist.

To make this recipe at home, click here for a tutorial!