Something Good #24: The Something Good

This week’s newsletter is in liquid form.

To mark the beginning of summer, I reached out to my friend Michelle Marek, pastry chef at the very excellent Montreal restaurant Elena, co-creator of the legendary food blog An Endless Banquet (since 2004!), and keeper of two beloved kittens, Izzy and Ozzy.

I wanted to know if she could help myself and my readers celebrate the season, and hopefully a time of renewal, with a drink.

She generously complied, and I give you: the Something Good. It is a delicious and refreshing drink, best enjoyed in the sunshine where the light can illuminate its radiant blushing hue. You can drink it innocently, or with gin—either are good, but gin makes it a little good-er.

Here’s what you need to do.

First, locate some rhubarb. I was lucky enough to get some straight out of the ground (special thanks to Lori Messer).

You’re going to want one kilogram (two pounds) of the stuff, but you can always divide the recipe if need be (we made about 1/3 of what was called for).

Chop it all up into little pieces. Put them in a medium pot with 500 ml (2 1/4 cups, approximately) of water and 400 g (2 cups) of sugar.

Again, divide that all down if you want to. All good.

Bring the pot to a simmer and let it bubble away until the rhubarb breaks down and is all nice and mushy. This could take about 10-20 minutes. Don’t worry about overdoing it.

Strain everything into the pot into a bowl, and let it chill.

If you’re in a hurry—say, if it’s already 8pm on Tuesday and you have a newsletter due the next morning—you can take two metal bowls of slightly differing sizes, fill the larger one with ice, nestle the smaller one into the ice, and strain the liquid into that. (Note: the ice won’t come into direct contact with the syrup, you’re just using it to chill the inner bowl. I hope that makes sense. I should have taken a picture of this step.)

Anyway: once the syrup is nice and cool (it doesn’t have to be that cool), slice a lime into thin rounds. Add ‘em to a glass along with a bunch of ice.

Pour two tablespoons of the syrup over the ice.

Add seltzer.

Squeeze in a little lime juice.

Add some gin at this point if you like. We used the Kazuki Gin from Sheringham Distillery, a Vancouver Island operation near where we’re currently staying. It’s good stuff.

Stir gently. Just enough to get everything all mixed together properly.

Find a sunny spot.

Enjoy Something Good.

Some chips wouldn’t hurt either.

This week’s #nojacketsrequired comes to us via Nicholas Amberg. As always, please send me your dust jacket discoveries direct to my email at

Bonus track:

You know, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to take the leftover rhubarb mush and stir into your yogurt the following morning. Extra-special thanks to Michelle Marek for the recipe.

Don’t forget that I am still taking requests for recommendations or generalized life advice! Reply here for your personalized guidance.

Every week I’ll send you Something Good. If you like reading (and drinking) it, please tell a friend.