Return of Rhubarb = My Favorite Beverage, Round 2

Rhubarb is more striking-looking with its leaves, but don't eat them. They are poisonous.

Since getting engaged a few months back, I’ve talked several times about making gallons of rhubarb liqueur for my wedding next year. As we have not set a date, I reasoned, I’d better make it now in case we run into crunch time next spring. I think some people might have thought I was joking, but, if there’s one thing I’m serious about, it’s gin. If there’s another, I suppose it’s local produce. And so I am here to restate my commitment to the rhubarb booze, to making as much of it as possible for signature cocktails for Shawn’s and my special day. Now to find a date and a venue that will allow said cocktails…minor details…

I am also here to provide better photos than I did in my last post on this topic.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, How to Make Rhubarb Liqueur:

Step 1: Chop Rhubarb, however much you have on hand, and put it in a great, big jar. Here we see four large stalks of rhubarb, courtesy of our CSA. That is a gallon jar.

Step 2: Add a little sugar and the zest of one lemon. Give it a shake. It will look shimmery and juicy all at once. You will be pleased.

Step 3: Add gin. The first time I made this, I used vodka, noting that gin would probably be tasty. I then made another batch with gin and confirmed that this yielded a vastly superior beverage. Here I have used a handle (that’s a legitimate unit of measurement, right?) of meh-quality gin. It’s not really worth it to use the good stuff. It will all mellow out in the end.

Steps 4-5: Not pictured. Step 4 is straining. Through a coffee filter is best, but a fine sieve will do if you are feeling impatient (the coffee filter straining takes, approximately, forever). Step 5 is adding simple syrup to taste and pouring it all into a bottle.

Here we see my second batch of the season sitting next to batch #1, strained and bottled earlier this week.

Last year, the first batch of the season was a pale pink due to the pale green stalks of rhubarb that were available early in the season. The second batch looked more like Hawaiian Punch™ due to brighter, rosier stalks. Re-visiting my second batch of liqueur after a mere one day of infusion reveals that this is going to be the case again. Look at the color on this stuff!

OK, so maybe they don’t look that different now, but trust me: the color will deepen in the next week or two. I will give the jar a good shake every couple of days, then strain it, add simple syrup, and let my liqueur join its paler friend waiting for next year. That is, if I can resist the temptation to serve this up at every cocktail party between now and then. It’s spring in a cup, people! Irresistible!


3 responses to “Return of Rhubarb = My Favorite Beverage, Round 2

  1. You’re hilarious! Thanks for the tips on Rhubarb liqueur. Question…1.why do you strain it? Would his be for esthetics purposes? 2.What is simple syrup? Syrup? 3. How much gin, just enough to cover rhubarb? In your picture, it doesn’t look like a lot of rhubarb…do you not fill the whole jar full of rhubarb? Thanks again! Toni

    • I strain it to get the chunks of rhubarb out — not texturally pleasant to drink, and they’ve already given up their goodness both in flavor and in color by the time I strain, so they’re just kind of grayish chunks. Not my favorite.

      Simple syrup = sugar + water. You can heat equal parts together until the sugar dissolves, or you can plan ahead and combine them in a jar, let sit a while (I do overnight), and then give it a shake.

      The pictures show the rough proportions (I add the simple syrup at the end, so all liquid pictured is booze). I believe I used around 4 cups chopped rhubarb to a handle of gin. You can scale down to use a regular bottle. It’s hard to go wrong.

  2. Reblogged this on dawn spitfire's blog and commented:
    Apparently it throwback Sunday!
    Here’s another trip down memory lane!
    Strawberry/Rhubarb pie & freezer jam! YUMM

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