Rhubarb and ginger vodka

The rhubarb has come into season now. We don’t have enough room for a rhubarb crown in the garden, but when I was a kid, my parents had a large patch of it, the centre of which lurked under an upturned metal bucket in the early spring to force the pink stems. Gorgeous stuff, and I picked up a muddy armful at the market to make cake with this week, then found I had plenty left over. What better to do with it than turn it into a gorgeous pale-pink liqueur?

Here, much like the sloes in sloe gin, the rhubarb steeps for a couple months in sugar and alcohol, giving up its flavour and colour. I’ve also added ginger (rhubarb’s natural friend) and the zest of a lemon to the pot for extra zing. I’m afraid you’re going to have to restrain yourself for a couple of months before this is drinkable, but it’s well worth the wait.

For every litre of vodka you use, you’ll need:

600g rhubarb
300g caster sugar
3 inches of ginger root
Zest of one lemon

Pour the sugar into the bottom of a large jar (it should have at least double the capacity of the amount of vodka you’re using, and be airtight). Clean the rhubarb and slice it into 1-inch chunks and put it in the jar on top of the sugar. Slice the ginger (no need to remove the skin) into coins, and toss it in along with the zest of a lemon, pared carefully with a knife into wide strips.

Pour over the vodka, shake or stir well, and seal the jar up. Leave it at room temperature (it’ll be fine sitting on a shelf in the kitchen) for two months, at which point the rhubarb will look disgusting and grey, having given up all its juice and colour to the now pink vodka. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with muslin into bottles. This liqueur is even better if you leave the finished bottles to mature for six months or so, but can be also drunk immediately.

13 Replies to “Rhubarb and ginger vodka”

  1. Hi Liz, I’ve got some rhubarb vodka that I made a couple of months ago just sitting in my cupboard waiting to be drunk. Do you drink it straight up or use it in cocktails?

  2. Lucky you! I like it straight and chilled, especially in a Martini glass (a stem of fresh rhubarb is a nice alternative to a toothpick full of olives here). It really comes into its in mixers – try it with ginger ale, or for a summery drink, with lemonade and fresh mint leaves.

    I’m having great trouble summoning up the willpower to wait the two months.

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  4. This is the second time we’ve followed your recipe. Can you please settle a marital argument. Do you give the jar a shake now and again as it matures or just leave it to stand once its had the initial shake-up? The sugar seems to sit at the bottom. The final product was delicious – hence the second time around!

  5. Only just discovered this recipe. Is it too late now to use the rhubarb as it will be tough? Still got loads growing on the allotment.

  6. In response to the request about raspberry vodka – I’ve made it for decades, and it never fails.
    When fruit is going out of season, I buy it half-price and vodkate it. Favourites are blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and cherry.But the best is blackberry: walk down a country lane at the end of summer, pick as many as you can carry, and put them 50/50 with vodka. Seal (shake weekly) and filter on Christmas Eve.They are free and taste superbly of summer. I never pur sugar in my vodkas, as it’s not drunk neat, and lemonade gives it suficient sweetness for everyone’s taste.Just don’t try peaches – they don’t work!

  7. I’m definitely going to try this recipe – thanks! Found this website by chance. I am a big fan of fruit spirit and make them to give as Christmas gifts. I have to say that I tend to make them stronger – for example if I were making raspberry vodka, which is lovely, I’d use 300g raspberries, 300g sugar to 500ml vodka. We drink them as small shots, rather like schnapps and chilled beforehand. It does pay to use if not a high class vodka, then a good “ordinary” one, like Russian Standard which is 40% and when it comes to bottling use dark glass (brown or green) to preserve the colour.

    Not tried peaches (luckily!) and gooseberries are not really that good, the liquor is cloudy. If anyone has a remedy for that I’d be interested to hear it.

    I’ve used frozen summer berry mixture for the first time this year and it’s looking good and a wee taste after only a short while is very promising.

  8. I love this recipe but not being a vodka drinker I used gin….. crysalised stem ginger works really well too instead of fresh root ginger.

    Think your blog is fab by the way.

  9. Been and bought all the ingredients today for rhubarb and ginger vodkad and rhubarb and ginger Gin and rasberry Gin . I would love to try Turkish delight flavour any ideas

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