rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito | the reset button

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It’s amazing what a new job situation will do to your life. There is always a transition. To navigate that transitional time well, we are encouraged to slow down, settle into the newer routine, make room for exercise, focus on our breath, and keep calm and eat, drink, or do something to balance it all out.

It is so much easier said than actually done.

The first four months of this year were a financially stressful time for me. I was only working one evening each week at the restaurant, and my paid freelance jobs had stalled. In late April, I decided to take on another job, buying wine and spirits for a small wine shop here in town. The pay wasn’t great, but I kept my eyes on the promised opportunities: conducting wine-based trips, maintaining a website, and curating their social media.

It’s quite amusing how untimely life can be {or timely, perhaps}. As soon as I made that commitment to become a wine buyer, within just a couple of weeks, I was offered a raise and more shifts at the restaurant. It was an offer I couldn’t decline. Within a week, I was slammed with some writing and photography assignments. Looking back at this crazy time, I am actually shaking my head and laughing. I had to make one of the toughest decisions this year. I had to make a choice, and that choice required me to go back on my word.

I turned in my notice to the shop. I felt like absolute crap. Had I known what was coming my way only two weeks in advance, I would never have accepted that new job.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

I truly wanted to just stop working at the wine shop and pretend this all hadn’t happened. Instead, I gave them proper notice, while simultaneously jumping into my new role at the restaurant. I don’t even remember much of late April, and May was a complete blur. There were a few 60-hour work weeks, copious amounts of tears, second helpings of wine, and nights where I fell asleep on my desk.

My sleep schedule was so wrecked that I was able to call my mom on two occasions, while she was getting ready for work at 5:30 in the morning. She lives in Florida, so she is two hours ahead of me. I hadn’t gone to bed yet. It was 3:30 my time, and I had to be at work at 8:00. I was breaking down. Forget about those deep breaths or proper exercise or healthy eating or, while we’re at it, a healthy relationship with your significant other.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

There is a silver lining to this story. I promise.

Although I’m still recovering from the exhaustion from the last two months’ events, I am proud of myself that I persevered. I didn’t call in sick, I gave myself grace for not keeping the house clean, and I reinforced bridges that I could have potentially burned. I even capped off that whirlwind of craziness by successfully {more like miraculously!} finishing my first half-marathon. It was a rite of passage and really let me know that I’m more powerful than I give myself credit. We are all more powerful than we give ourselves credit.

I know all of us have piled on too much at once, whether or not we foresaw the outcome. How have you recovered? What tips to you have for getting the balance just right? I’m sure we can all benefit from further discussion.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito

I am happy to create more time to relax, get back to enjoying this blog, and run a little more. I am especially giving more attention to simply relaxing. My favorite moment last week was lying down in the back yard and staring up at the clouds. No phone. No active thinking. Just drifting.

And more time for cocktails.

Back in early March, I wrote a detailed post on how to make shrubs or drinking vinegars. They are a refreshing additive to cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, or just a little soda water. As I mentioned previously, a shrub is basically fruit, or even vegetables, combined with two other components: sugar and vinegar. After the correct ratio of those ingredients integrate over a little time, the result is a perfect balance of tartness, sugar, acidity, and texture. Shrubs are mouth-watering and concentrated, and they taste amazing when combined with soda water or integrated into a cocktail.

I made this rhubarb and strawberry shrub and have loved adding a little to homemade lemonade recently. I think I loved it best in a mojito. My mint is going crazy, so I have had to be super creative with using it in as many was as possible.

rhubarb + strawberry shrub

  • 10 ounces rhubarb, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar.
  2. Vigorously muddle the fruit. You really want to get out as much juice from the fruits, as you can.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for three days, stirring the mixture occasionally.
  4. Add the white wine vinegar, muddle the fruit a little, and stir to integrate any undissolved sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a clean jar.
  6. Return the shrub to the refrigerator and let it hang out there for one week, in order for the flavors to integrate.
  7. Shake well before using and either make a cocktail or add a little shrub to your soda water.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora

Mojitos were always so time-consuming to make, when I was behind the {muddling} stick. I know other bartenders, who would make theirs halfheartedly, so that no one would order them again. I actually found the process quite therapeutic, and I loved the taste of a well-incorporated mojito. I still do. For a little more history on the mojito, read this post on PUNCH.

Many recipes call for muddling raw sugar with mint leaves. I chose to make a mint simple syrup, instead. I’m using it for some orange-mint coconut cream pops, and I figured it would work perfectly in a mojito.

mint simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • a handful of freshly cut mint leaves
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar on the stove, just until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and toss in the mint leaves.
  3. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the mint leaves and cool.
  5. Store it in a clean, glass jar and use it up within a couple of weeks.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito

  • 2 quarters of a lime
  • 1/2 ounce mint simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 2 ounces white rum, like Downslope
  • 1 1/2 ounces rhubarb + strawberry shrub
  • soda water
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the lime, simple syrup, and one sprig of mint. Save the other sprig for a garnish. Don’t slack. Muddle it well!
  2. Add ice, rum, and the shrub. Cover and give it a shake or two.
  3. Pour into a tall glass and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with another sprig of mint, find a sunny spot, and sip slowly.
  • This recipe yields one drink. It is also a little tart because of the shrub. I like it that way, but you can always tone down the amount for a more subtle mojito. And adding more soda water also dilutes it!
  • If you don’t want to make the mint simple syrup, simply substitute regular simple syrup and add a little extra mint when muddling.
  • This multiplies easily for a pitcher drink. Just combine all of the ingredients, reserving the soda water for when you are ready to serve.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & floraCheers to an amazing week ahead!

Has your spring been consumed with herbaceous cocktails and fruity shrubs? If so, let me know what you’re doing. If not, get out and make yourself some!



  1. paulathomas2015 says:

    Hi Jayme! Glad to have you back and congrats on getting over the slump. Life can be tough sometimes, during my baking days it became “normal” to work 70-80 hours a week. running a business can eat you alive and having doubts during slow times wasn’t unheard of either. My relationship with my boy was to the barebones minimum because I had no time, patience or energy. All of that made me leave that world at age 37 and start a new path, which I’m still digging my way through. Your future looks bright as long as you are happy and in the end that’s really all that matters. Glad to hear back from you.
    Coffee is next 🙂

    • That’s so strong of you to leave that ultimately destructive lifestyle, even though, I’m sure, it fed your soul in some regard. I’m still trying to find balance with working with my sig other and separating work-life from home-life. I’m struggling a bit. I’m HAPPY you took the plunge and are creating a life of your own that fits and fulfills. “YES!” to coffee! I hear that you have a stacked schedule coming up with family visits and the like, but I’m free every morning and do have some sanity this week! 🙂
      Now I need to read on and catch up on your blog! I am super excited to have the next two days off. I’m still writing on one of the days, but I’m going to make an effort to get up to St. Mary’s Glacier at some point. XO!

  2. ghetran says:

    Welcome back! 😉 Had a tough half a year myself, so I can definitely relate. Trying to be grateful for the freelance assignments I get and enjoy the days off whenever they “happen”. 😉 good luck and take care!

    • Aw, thank you so much! 🙂 It is nice to actually have a little time to write again and check out what I’ve missed out there in the “blogosphere.” It’s funny you should say that you are trying to enjoy “the days off whenever they “happen.” I am SO trying to carve out time that I completely dedicate to REST. It is so challenging; isn’t it? Even when I’m away from the job-job, I tend to work on projects here at the house and haven’t gone up to the mountains for a hike in weeks. I am planning on making time for a hike tomorrow. It is necessary, and I think I’ll come back refreshed and more focused. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

  3. Edie says:

    I thought you had been running your legs off! I almost called and asked if you were okay. I thought I would just give you time and look, you absolutely blossomed. I have these recipes jotted down and will try them!! Thanks for all you do!

    • Edie!
      You are welcome to check in any time! We are due a call sometime soon, anyway. Yeah, I was a serious mess for a good few weeks, but I just kept thinking that it was only temporary, and that I’d come out stronger, even if I didn’t believe it at first.
      How are you doing? What garden projects and creative ventures do you have in the works?
      I’m happy you liked the recipe. You should revisit my first post on how to make shrubs. Seriously, they’re my favorite spring and summer drink addition. So refreshing and tasty!
      Love you and thanks for the well wishes and for checking in! 😘

  4. […] 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 […]

  5. […] or other desserts.  Chop it up and add it to salads or use it as a garnish.  Have a mint julep or mojito […]

  6. Amy Workman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I made rhubarb shurbs a couple weeks ago and had mint in the garden, but wasn’t sure if a rhubarb mojito made sense. This gave me go ahead to try and it was delicious! I also didn’t think to make mint syrup. Thanks!

    • That’s so great you gave a rhubarb mojito a go!! I LOVE the flavors of mint, rum, and vegetal rhubarb together. Also, I totally missed seeing your comment. Summer caught up with me, and I’m finally catching my breath. I was actually wishing I’d frozen some rhubarb this year. I’m craving it hard right now! Next year! 😉

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