Sunday, 13 June 2010

rhubarb, rhubarb...

rhubard vodka and cordial 1

Yes, that's rhubarb, twice over.

It would be true to say that, once the first signs of summer arrive, I develop a bit of a rhubarb habit. I don't think it controls me, but on balance, it's probably a good thing that it's not available all year round. Any which way it's possible to do so, I'll consume it. Compotes, jams, fools, pies, crumbles, jellies, cakes - I've been there, done them, and will no doubt do them many more times yet.

But drinks - not so much. Not until this year, anyway, when several conversations with various Tweeters, and especially @goodshoeday (a veritable doyenne of bottling all things fruit and veg), and the acquisition of Mary Prior's rather brilliant little book, Rhubarbaria, made me think it was high time I tried making my own rhubarb beverages, too.

And now that I have, I can tell you that it's a dangerous path to tread. Making rhubarb drinks is so darned easy, for one thing. And the results are just too good to make you want to settle for anything less. You WILL be making them time and time again. Consider yourself thoroughly warned.

Thus far I've made a ridiculously simple and oh-so-refreshing rhubarb and orange cordial, which involves nothing more than a bit of a boil-up of, well, rhubarb, orange, lemon, and sugar:

making rhubarb cordial

Pretty, innit? And even prettier at the end, when the finished product has a pinky-peachy glow to it. I recommend you make this recipe EXACTLY as Lotte Duncan suggests - the balance of flavours, sweetness and acidity is perfect, and so much better (and far less sticky) than any shop-bought varieties. Make it up exactly as you would any other cordial.

Of course, there are times when only a drop of the hard stuff will do. At such times, rhubarb vodka is your friend.

There are so many recipes for this that you're spoiled for choice, frankly. I refer you back to @goodshoeday's blog for one way of making it, but in this instance, I used one of Mary Prior's recipes:

300g/12 oz rhubarb, chopped
120g / 4 oz sugar
60 ml / 2 fl oz water
1 litre vodka

Cook the rhubarb with the sugar and water until tender. Put in a large glass storage jar or bowl. Cool. Add the vodka and cover. Store for about a week. Strain the vodka off the fruit pulp and bottle. Leave to mature for a bit. (Ha! Define 'a bit'...)

HOW EASY IS THAT?? No excuses, you CAN make this.

I love this stuff. I particularly love it neat, poured over 3 or 4 large ice cubes, in a large glass. I don't know why (and I'd be grateful if someone could explain), but adding the ice cubes seems to bring out more of the rhubarb flavours than if you omit them and simply drink the vodka chilled. Answers on a postcard, please.

Meanwhile, I'm off for a little sip of something...

rhubarb vodka and cordial 2


Jamie said...

Wow! This is so very cool! Very pretty and very tasty.

bellini valli said...

We can only have so many desserts and our freezer only holds so much so this is the perfect solution.

Ailbhe said...

Love rhubarb too. When we were kids my mother stewed it without sugar and left it in fridge. She figured we kids wouldn't like to so sour Unfortunately we all developed a taste for it and used to dip in and eat it all : ) Still like it not too sweet! Love the idea of vodka rhubarb over ice.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Oh I really like the sound of this! I'm a fairly new convert to rhubarb, I never imagined you could make a drink with it. Something else to fill the cellar with!

Kavey said...

Oh lovely! I don't like rhubarb but Pete loves it. We bought some for the garden this year, from a good garden centre. For the first 2-3 weeks it looked good, grew an extra leaf, bedded in well. Now it seems to have crown rot and is dying so no rhubard for us!
I shall hope for more success next year so I can make Pete some of these goodies!
Really missed seeing you yesterday, hope to be able to catch up soon.

Clairetweet said...

What a fab idea! I love elderflower cordial so rhubarb would be a welcome addition and so pretty. Our harvest is lacking tho so will have to buy some.

sunita said...

I am loving the colour here; what a great idea of using rhubarb

Understanding Alice said...

ooh that all looks fabulous and as the only rhubarb lover in the house it will be all mine...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Jamie - thank you. And yes, they are very tasty!

Val - my thoughts exactly. The vodka keeps forever, too, not that it'll last that long in practice...

Ailbhe - neither the vodka or cordial is at all sugary, so I think they'll suit your tastebuds just fine. I prefer stewed fruit with very little sugar, too

Sarah - get that cellar filled, girl!

Kavey - aw, shame about the rhubarb crown. Better luck next year. Even if you don't like rhubarb, I think you might like the cordial...

Claire - do, do!

Sunita - the colours are pretty, aren't they?

Alice - oooh, lucky you! ;)

Julia Parsons said...

That looks incredibly delicious and refreshing. Love the idea of the vodka version!

Jacqueline said...

I love rhubarb, so I am all in favour of both of these. Bet they taste amazing. Oh, I am drooling at the thought :D

Mary said...

This is lovely to look at and I'm sure delicious as well. This is my first visit to your blog. I spent some time perusing your earlier posts and really enjoyed my visit. I'll be back often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

The Caked Crusader said...

My name is the Caked Crusader and I'm a rhubarbaholic. I feel safe to disclose it here!
Love the idea of making it into drinks - perfect for getting even more rhubarb into one's system!

Nora said...

Wow to both of those! I've been meaning to try rhubarb vodka for a while and that cordial looks so lovely. Just think I could drink nothing but rhubarb based drinks, while perusing Rhubarbia. Heaven!

Katie said...

I'd love to have a stab at making my own cordial and you've totally inspired me. I reckon my boys would lap that up!

It's also the perfect excuse to purchase some of those cool glass bottles with stoppers, which I've always wanted :-)

thanks for the idea

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Julia - the vodka version is delish, I promise!

Jacqueline - drool away, but better still, make some for you

Mary - welcome to my blog, and thank you for your kind words. Looking forward to seeing you here again soon

Cakey - glad I'm not alone ;)

Nora - exactly...

Katie - glad to hear it! And yes, the bottles are fun...

David Hall said...

Great idea for the cheap vodka!

Johanna GGG said...

never had home made cordial but have been cooking with rhubarb in savoury dishes for a change - gives a new perspective on it - love the simplicity of this

Jessica said...

I have never tried rhubarb vodka before, but it sounds delightfully refreshing...and addictive! Thanks for the great recipe.

Pia K said...

mmm, love rhubarb too! i will definitely have to plant more of them asap. so i can make all things delish (incl this of course) when i decide to push the button on my book wishlist which now have "rhubarbia" o top of it. such a perfect name it has!

Cynthia said...

I would love to taste this. I've never had rhubarb.

BSG said...

Cor. Am thirsty just reading this, and we're getting through our elderflower concoction. waht a great idea. Am off to buy some 'barb!

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