This boozy strawberry rhubarb granita is my attempt at blurring the lines between a cocktail and dessert. It also makes use of two ingredients that are currently everywhere in Eastern Washington: strawberries and rhubarb. I love the tartness of the rhubarb combined with the sweetness of the strawberries, so I couldn’t resist combining them into a frozen dessert/drink to try to counteract the strange heatwave we are having.
Granita is probably my favorite frozen dessert to make during the summer because it comes together with little effort. As its name suggests, granita is an Italian invention. It should not be confused, however, with its creamier cousin, gelato. Granita is a lot coarser, almost like shaved ice. In terms of equipment, all you need is a baking pan and a fork, and you are ready to go.
Now you do have to have some patience when making granita because it takes some time and scraping for it to come out fluffy and delicious rather than simply icy and hard. When you add alcohol to the mix like I’ve done here, it does become a less involved process because the granita won’t really set all the way. This means less scraping on your part. You also won’t really be able to taste the alcohol that much because we are using so little of it. Adding too much alcohol can prevent the granita from setting properly, turning into a kind of a slushie. If you want the kiddos to be able to enjoy it, feel free to omit the booze but keep in mind that you will have to scrape it more often to ensure that it freezes evenly.
I wanted to turn this into the perfect adult dessert/cocktail for a barbecue or summer dinner party, so I decided to present it almost as an after dinner dessert shot by pouring some tequila over the granita right before serving. Tequila really brings out the tartness of the rhubarb and the strawberries, almost reminding me of a frozen margarita. Just make sure to use good quality tequila because you will be able to taste it this time. Milagro Silver is my favorite tequila to use in recipes like this one because it’s smooth and not overpowering. One important thing: after you pour in the tequila, your granita will start melting really fast, so make sure to wait until the last minute to do this. Your guests can then choose to shoot it, sip it, or eat it with a tiny spoon.
What flavors should I use for my next granita recipe? Leave a comment below!
Boozy Strawberry Rhubarb Granita
This refreshing strawberry rhubarb granita gets a kick from a little bit of tequila.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 pound rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of silver tequila (I used Milagro)
- 0.5 oz of silver tequila to serve (optional)
- Step 1 Combine the sugar and a cup of water in a 2-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.
- Step 2 Lower the heat to medium high and add the rhubarb. Cook until tender but not mushy, about 5-7 mins.
- Step 3 Add the strawberries and lemon juice and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Step 4 Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh sieve and strain. You should end up with about 2.5 cups of syrup. Discard the solids.
- Step 5 Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add the tequila and whisk to combine. Allow to come to room temperature.
- Step 6 Cover the baking dish with some cling wrap and transfer to the freezer. Leave it to set for at least two hours. As soon as you notice that it has started to freeze, scrape it with a fork every 30-45 minutes for 3 hours. You could serve it while it’s still slushy, but I prefer to let it sit overnight so that it sets better. Give it another good scrape before serving.
- Step 7 When you are reading to serve it, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the granita into a small glass and add 0.5 oz of tequila to each glass. Serve immediately.
This granita will keep in the freezer for 3-4 days. Just make sure to give it a good scrape before you serve it.
Notes: Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.