Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rhubarb Liqueur

Last week I finally tried the fabled Rhubarb Liqueur I had made, which was inspired by this post from Mostly Foodstuffs. There's a bit of a wait, but it is as good as it was heralded to be. I was lucky enough to get a visit from intrepid preserver, Doris the Goat, of Doris and Jilly Cook who was teaching a class on preserving at the nearby Omega Institute. I thought what better time to break out the rhubarb booze? Maybe that's why Doris was such a wonderful guest, not only providing helpful information on my new (used) pressure canner but arriving with a jar of this in hand. Isn't it a wonderful world?

Even though it was daytime, we clinked my special little glasses, while the rest of her crew snoozed on the hammock. Doris' summary of the libation? "It's rhubarb pie in a glass!" And indeed it was. It came out perfectly; not too sweet, smells exactly of rhubarb, light pink color, and strangely (dangerously?) enough it doesn't even taste like alcohol. In fact, the night before I had tried it hoping it was good, because I talked it up and wanted to make sure I could back up that talk. I added gin to it because it just wasn't tasting like a pre-dinner cocktail. However, as an postprandial drink, it is superb on it's own. No ice, just basement temperature, served up neat.

The original recipe calls for Everclear or grain alcohol, but I chose the ever handy, and legal in my state, vodka. It has been said that the 90 percent alcohol content of Everclear pulls out more fruit essence, but I thought the vodka did an incredible job. Talk of alcohol soaked in fruit always makes people excited; it's that good. I made brandied apricots last year, and the cordial it made was stellar. I've got a few more quart jars steeping all sorts of things. What are you soaking in alcohol these days? Besides yourself, that is.

N.B. Deena, from Mostly Foodstuffs, made a good point in the comments about the lack of alcoholic kick in my liqueur, and that is: her recipe used grain alcohol, and the sugar levels were adjusted thusly. I used the milder vodka and should have taken down the sugar. Be warned!


  1. Hoorah! Today is our day to reduce our soaking and sloshed rhubarb infusion and then it's another month until tasting time. We also have what we affectionately call "Quinc-skey" (though I don't think we'd really spell it that way) which is quince, cinnamon sticks, a few cloves, and a bit of ginger suspended in whiskey. it's pretty great, especially in coffee and baking. Tomorrow from the market I'm going to get lemon verbena and start soaking that in gin. Wow, I can't believe my booze comment is this long, this early in the morning...

  2. Yay! I did mine in everclear and added the simple syrup to it last week. I haven't tried it yet though... few more weeks!
    I have a bit of leftover everclear so I am going to follow the same plan with strawberries.
    Then I decided I am going to just make fruity booze for ever thing that comes in season. Yum!

  3. Rest assured the description is accurate. It's delicious. I'll be taking mine out of the Everclear soon and will report shortly therefore, as soon as I've diluted it so as to keep me from going blind by tasting it.

  4. I am beyond relieved to read this post. Last year I made an Apricot Beverage, I put the fruit in a jar, added some sugar, a cinnamon stick, two cloves, covered with vodka and shook. I let it sit for a while (maybe 8 weeks) then strained it and drank it. It was FANTASTIC!

    This year I thought it would be fun to do with strawberries and a bit of vanilla, but I only had everclear. So I put the berries in a jar, covered with sugar, added the vanilla, and covered with everclear.

    I will admit it has only been a week or so but I tried it and it tasted kind of like nyquil. The alcohol was so strong it tasted horrible. I was wondering about watering it down and I am so relieve to know that should help (and I might need to add more sugar).

    I am so glad it is salvageable! Thanks!

  5. That sounds awesome. Now I just need some more bench space and more storage space so I can make something like this. Yum! In the mean time, I will just have to keep soaking me in the alcohol... it's for my health you see.

  6. Wendy - You must!

    Val - I love a long boozey comment early in the morning! Quinc-skey sounds amazing. I'll keep that in mind for the fall. Lemon Verbena in gin also sounds good!

    Meg - I am so with you on that. Or you could make that rumtopf that Tigress spoke of!

    Doris - I cannot wait to hear about the cherries! I loved how you told of the immediate reaction the Everclear had on the cherries. They didn't have a chance!

    Tara - Oh, I'm sure it just needs time! And maybe a little water...Don't apricots do the best thing to alcohol??

    chfg - Tell me about it! Please continue to steep yourself--it *is* for your health, indeed!

  7. Just love your blog girlfriend....will be back often:)

  8. Glad to hear that your batch turned out so well! Did you adjust down the amount of syrup to account for the lower-proof vodka? Otherwise that could account for the less-boozy kick.

    And if you think it's good now, wait til it ages for a few months. If it lasts that long...

  9. perfect timing - i just bought two bottles of vodka to make raspberry and cherry infusions... the only thing i'm not excited about is waiting. the rhubarb liqueur sounds delicious... i've also got a ginger bug simmering on the counter for making ginger beer.

  10. Some great ideas here - I feel we've been stuck with just that old stalwart 'sloe Gin' for too long. Must admit my raspberry vodka tasted a bit to like cough syrup for my liking - but after a couple of slugs all coughing was forgotten.

    I'm not familiar with Everclear. Is it like the French Eau de vie?

  11. buttercup600 - Thanks! I hope you do visit often!

    Deena - Aha! No, I did not adjust for vodka. That is most certainly why. I will make a note of it in the body of the post. Thank you for pointing that out. Makes total sense.

    And yes, if it lasts that long! Thank you so much the recipe and inspiration!

    InnB - Oooh! I've got cherries soaking, but raspberries and a ginger bug sounds like goodness! I've got to get cracking!

    mountainear - Great ideas, indeed. I'm pretty excited for drinking this summer. (Like every summer.) Everclear is just about pure grain alcohol, pretty much can blind you. But people here swear by it. And drink it, too!

    ...nothing wrong with a little cough syrup. Cough, cough!

    Denise - Thanks! I'm pretty proud.

  12. Yum! Wish I could come hang out on the hammock and sip this! And Meg, where did YOU get everclear because they don't sell that in our state run liquor stores here in Washington...I may have to come get the basement tour sometime. ;p

  13. Ok. No more procrastinating! I am buying some Everclear as soon as I get to the store again...I've been daydreaming about this for awhile, and have no idea why I haven't remembered to start it!

    That Deena is a drinks goddess! If you don't already believe me, try her pineapple mojito sometime soon... I credit her with my return to mint- I kinda detested mint until I tried that drink!

  14. Annette - Oh man it's good. Did you ever find the everclear in Meg's basement? I wonder if you can get it in Vancouver...

    Rebecca - I'm going to go right to Deena's blog to look up her Mojito. My mint is going crazy!

  15. Very fun! Sounds like a much more successful project than my raspberry vodka. Shudder - I don't even like *thinking* about that one! A beautiful color but cough-drop-like taste. Yuck.

    BTW, I added this post to my Hot Water Bath facebook group so others can enjoy it, too.