My friend David Lebovitz, OG food blogger and nine-time author, wrote a book on the iconic cocktails, aperitifs, and cafe traditions of France, including 160 recipes, that came out in March. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel like you’ve hopped on a plane to fly to Paris to spend long, leisurely afternoons-into-evenings wandering, sipping and tasting this and that, something I had the delight to do almost a year ago in person. The circumstances might be terrible, but it feels like a bit of luck that he’s created a book that allows us to recreate these tastes and the feeling, as best as possible, at home.
David wastes no time dropping us into Paris at dawn, right around the time we’d be stumbling off a too-brief-to-be-restful redeye, where the lights in cafes are flickering on, followed by the coffee machines. Baguettes are picked up in paper sacks that will be served with butter and jam. He explains that cafes are the living rooms of Paris, places where artists and writers have long worked, attracted by the heat that their homes lacked, and the wine, and remain places to meet friends outside your too-small apartment, freeing you from having to clean up before people come over. From café au lait to chocolate chaud (hot chocolate), citronnade (lemonade), into l’heure de l’apero (a time to unwind with a drink before dinner) to the craft cocktail movement of the last decade, the book is a bit of a dreamland, so perfect for those of us who desperately miss wandering right now.
I went, almost predictably, straight for the rhubarb cordial, attracted by the use of my favorite spring stalks and by the uncomplicated ingredient list (rhubarb, gin, sugar, citrus zest). A cordial is an infusion in the liqueur family (sweeter spirits) that includes cremes and distillations.* Historically, they were opportunities to use up a bumper crop of fruit or preserve a harvest; today, I think of them as a way to celebrate seasonality. When my book arrived in early March, I chopped some rhubarb (alas, pre-season and borderline-sketch, sorry, but you should seek out the freshest you can find), and added it to Dingle gin (from our trip to Ireland last year), “Cutie easy-to-peel mandarin” zest, and sugar in a jar. It’s supposed to hang out at room temperature for a month but my apartment runs warm and David assured me I could put it in the fridge instead, it just might take longer. In fact, I forgot about it for two months, until yesterday afternoon. At 5:01pm, we poured it over an ice cube in a small glass, finished it with a twist of orange peel, and a splash of tonic (but sparkling wine or seltzer would work too) and clinked our 54th day of safety inside, looking forward to make this again every spring.
Six months ago: Perfect Apple Tarte Tatin
One year ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs In Coconut Broth
Two years ago: Triple Coconut Cream Pie
Three years ago: Pistachio Cake and A Reall Great Pot of Chickpeas
Four years ago: Potato Pizza, Even Better, Carrot Tahini Muffins and Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka
Five years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Soda Syrup, Artichoke Gratin Toasts and Maple Pudding Cake
Six years ago: Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
Seven years ago: Ramp Pizza and Yogurt Panna Cotta with Walnuts and Honey
Eight years ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches and Cinnamon Toast French Toast
Nine years ago: Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll and Crispy Potato Roast
Ten years ago: Tangy Spiced Brisket
Eleven years ago: Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper and Buttermilk Ice Cream
Twelve years ago: Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes, Whole Wheat Apple Muffins, and Caramelized Shallots
Thirteen years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad and Margarita Cookies and Tequila Lime Chicken
- 1 pound (450 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 1/2 cups (830 ml) gin, plus more if necessary
- 3 wide strips orange zest
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or triple sec (to serve)
- A splash of club soda, tonic water, or sparkling wine (to serve, optional)
Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the liqueur into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Add the Grand Marnier. Pour into a clean bottle (or bottles) and tightly cork. Store the cordial for up to 1 to 3 months longer. Apparently, you can wait this full 1 to 3 months to drink it, for proper aging. We, absolutely, did not.
To serve, pour into small tumblers with a few ice cubes, a twist of orange or tangerine peel, and a splash of sparkling water, tonic, or sparkling wine, as an apéritif.
159 comments on rhubarb cordial
Ohhh, this sounds delicious. My only problem is that I just yesterday used some ancient rhubarb in my freezer for your strawberry soda syrup, so now I’ll have to find more rhubarb!
Love rhubarb, can’t stomach gin. Would vodka be an appropriate substitute? Thanks!!
My question too.
I’ve done a rhubarb cordial with vodka. Works a charm. No need to go spendy, you’d be surprised how the straining and filtering (through a coffee filter if you can) really smooths it out.
This my question too
I’m going to try it with tequila, although I do love gin
Did you do this? How was it?
i didn’t read it carefully and started mine with vodka, then added more rhubarb when i realized it was supposed to be Gin and wanted to get rid of some gin i don’t love. it should be absolutely fine with vodka, just no botanicals to complement the rhubarb.
Would Bombay Sapphire gin be suitable?
I don’t see why not
You might try everclear! It’s high proof is really good for drawing out maximum flavor from fruit. So if you aren’t trying to get the botanical flavor from the gin, you might as well go for everclear. I’m currently using it to make lemoncello currently :)
Between this and your upside down cake, it’s time to start bothering my mother about my grandfather’s rhubarb patch!
I just bought an N2O infuser and am given to understand that you can use them to i Stanton make infusions like this – think I’m going to try it. Supposedly it also works with CO2 chargers ….
Been doing this for years (that reminds me to start a batch this year!) – I use corn schnapps (German, comparable to vodka) and add some vanilla as well. We usually drink it as it is, but sparkling wine sounds lovely! As you said the same principle also works well for other fruit, successfully did the same with blackberries (and brown sugar) last year :)
This seems like everything good in the world. But alas, I am pregnant. Is the alcohol content important for preserving it out of the fridge or otherwise? I have some nonalcoholic gin that is… passable in a mixed drink, but I don’t know if it would work here.
I’m also pregnant, so I feel your pain on this one. But I’m seven months along, so this will be ready around the time I can drink again! I think no matter how far along you are, it’ll probably hold up after straining and storing (perhaps in the fridge) so that you can enjoy it after your little one arrives. Think of it as an amazing present you’re making for your future self!
Maybe a rhubarb syrup or shrub to add to the nonalcoholic gin? It would probably need to stay in the fridge, though.
Make a rhubarb syrup instead maybe? Can me mixed with club soda or water or into mocktails: chop about a pound of rhubarb, add to a pot along with 2/3 cup water, cook until soft. Strain out the solids and drip for several hours. Bring the liquid to a boil, add 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar, skim off foam, bottle. Keep in fridge, mixed 1+3 with other liquids.
Try making a rhubarb shrub instead. I’m trying to cut down on consumption of the hard stuff and rhubarb shrub is fab–I usually mix it with tonic water. David L. has a recipe for that as well.
“Serving size may vary”
Since I’m making your Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble this weekend, I’ll just buy a little extra and put this in the pantry to steep.
HOW DID YOU KNOW I HAVE FRESH RHUBARB IN THE FRIDGE AND ZOOM COCKTAILS SCHEDULED FOR THIS EVENING? I love you.
Except that this recipe takes weeks to prepare!
I can’t believe you posted this the day after I finished the rhubarb in the CSA box. Bummer!
I am a Marianne P also!
Where do you get dingle gin in the us? It is hands down my favorite.
Dingle is my favorite too. It’s availability is off & on. I get it in CA at K&L Wine Merchants and lovely local wine shop started carrying for me. It seems maybe expensive for this purpose but it’s only a few bucks more than Hendricks I think.
I didn’t; I bought it in Ireland last summer.
Can you do anything with the leftover rhubarb, or is composting the only option?
Yes, I forgot to mention David Lebovitz’s advice (he never wastes anything): “You can use the leftover rhubarb to make a compote by adding additional sugar, to taste, and cooking it in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the rhubarb pieces have broken down into a thick, chunky puree. Add a dash of vanilla extract at the end of cooking, or add a vanilla bean, split lengthwise, at the start of cooking if you wish.” I presume that it goes without saying that compote will be very, very boozy.
That sounds like the very best ice cream topping ever!
Thanks for adding this. My lovely looking jar is almost ready!
Can you link the jars you used here? I recognize the Weck jars but what about the tall one you put the finished cordial into?
I am using this carafe. I use them for a lot of things, including getting a bunch of water cold before dinner parties, and gifts, like homemade irish cream.
How do we think frozen rhubarb would hold up? I was planning to make some rhubarb compote for my kids but this looks too good to pass up and a month from now, I will really have earned this sort of treat!
Also my question, re frozen rhubarb
I’m not certain — David says to use the freshest, least blemished fruit for preservation so I’m not sure how frozen fits in there. I’ll ask him!
My question,three! (re frozen rhubarb)
I asked David this morning and he said, in fact, frozen should be fine.
Wondering about the instructions regarding floating rhubarb. Should it sink to the bottom? It’s been about four days and the rhubarb is essentially a floating block with the tops just peeking above the liquid. If I add more gin, won’t it just rise to float the new level?
I think if it’s just peeking about the liquid, it’s fine; it will eventually soften and sink a bit. I do wonder, and I can check to see what David L. thinks, if the parchment round trick would work here. Paper clings to liquid surfaces, of course, and can push lightly floating things down.
It has been 4 days. The rhubarb was floating. I added more gin and the rhubarb just floated to the top. its a layer with only little bits floating above the liquid. Should I wait or try to add some parchment paper on top?
I spy the Dingle Gin! I’m not normally a gin drinker, but I definitely picked some up at duty free on my way home from Ireland last year. So good.
Oh interesting! Here in Australia, cordial refers to a sweet non-alcoholic syrup that you add to still or sparkling water – I think you call it squash or soda syrup? I’d be interested to try this version!
Can I use frozen rhubarb??
oooooh, so perfect. my rhubarb is about ready for any and all recipes and this one will be perfect. thanks! can’t wait to add this to the cocktail hour (in a month). all good things come to those who wait. thanks deb!
What a fabulously elegant pink! Did I miss the aside on cremes and distillations? I love your asterisk notations and I can’t seem to find it.
I love your posts dearly, and a large part of that is your elegant use of English. I am having a laugh, though, at the paper sacks being served with butter and jam. A friend gave me a bottle of rhubarb and ginger gin, so I don’t need to make that, but I’m steeping quinces in vodka and await the result with interest.
Oooh, this sounds interesting!
Quince gin tastes great, and is a lovely pale yellow colour
Speaking as a retired writer, this SK blog post is beautifully written and deeply touching. You deftly opened my heart and took me to Paris, a city I’ve never personally visited.
What I really need to know is where is your glassware from? Particularly the bottle!
This is the carafe — I use them for a lot of things, including getting a bunch of water cold before dinner parties, and gifts, like the homemade irish cream. The glasses are from Duralex; I have them in a tiny size (for, like, a single espresso shot or the most perfect toddler drinking glass), this middle size, and a larger one. The mid- and large are good for wine, although my husband mostly uses them as ice cream dishes.
Loved that sentence that sounds as though “the paper sacks…will be served”! How are they garnished??
Great use for my burgeoning rhubarb.
Did I miss something or do I need to wait a month before the rhubarb will be ready? Cruel, cruel….
Rhubarb cordial sounds delicious. Will try it next week. Thanks
Can’t wait to try this. I recommend Bluecoat Gin.
I’ve been loving David’s Instagram tv episodes…a little happy respite from my mostly solitary days. His book, Drinking French, is marvelous. I will be trying this cordial as soon as I can get my hands on some rhubarb. (Thank you, my gorgeous German Shepherd boys who happily destroyed my thriving rhubarb patches years ago😬)
I just listened to your wonderful talk on Cherry Bomb…I hope you and your family are doing well. Your cookbooks and blog are a happy companion in my kitchen!
Enjoy the day!
Was the month time of “cooking” the product arrived at by trial and error? I just made some while waiting for a snow storm and am already grwoing impatient. Happy Mothers’ Day!
Sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it!
I put it in a bag and cooked it sous vide at 150 degrees for two hours – done and perfect!
Once completed, do you store the cordial in the fridge or at room temperature for 1-3 months? Thanks!
Fridge for 1 to 3 months.
So excited to try this as my rhubarb plant is going to town! As much as I would like to make it with gin, will using vodka. And just found your strawberry rhubarb pecan loaf, which I will also make today. Thank you for all your great recipes!!
Will definitely be trying this. Rhubarb + gin = great flavor combo
I make rhubarb syrup. Just cook down a bunch of rhubarb and strain out the liquid with cheese cloth or an old, clean tea towel. Reheat with sugar to taste. Simple syrup is 1:1 water to sugar – that’s the ratio I use. I do not add sugar when cooking down the rhubarb so I can better control how much I’m using. I use it to make cocktails with gin or vodka (think gimlet) and it’s wonderful. Can also use it to make rhubarb soda, rhubarb lemonade, etc.
Do you think the long steeping process produces a better result than just making rhubarb simple syrup to add to gin, which would be much faster and wouldn’t require all the decanting? (I have some steeping right now, but on reflection wonder if I chose an unnecessarily complicated method)
Yum!! I’m in a summery, boozy mood lately, so I prepared a batch of this through the first step; it’s sitting in my pantry. I bought a bottle of French gin for it: something called Esme, which I’ve never had before. It smells pleasantly juniper-forward and has a beautiful bottle. Waiting for a month will be hard, but hopefully worth it.
In the meantime, I also made rhubarb syrup, so I can get my rhubarb fix with rhubarb-lime-gin cocktails. Honestly rhubarb is so good. Best seasonal spring food.
If I can find more rhubarb I’m making another batch tomorrow – fantastic Mother’s Day drink with champagne – finished the entire bottle between the four of us! Gotta love the immersion cooker!
Sounds so delicious, rhubarb is one of my absolute favourites in the summer! Def gonna try to make this soon!
Gin and I don’t get along so well. Could I use vodka instead if gin? Thanks!
Having a healthy rhubarb patch for the first time in a few years, I (too) quickly started in on this! I chopped up my pound of rhubarb and placed it and the whole amount of sugar right into my largest Ball jar that I was assuming was 2 quarts, but then could only fit 1 1/2 cups of gin in! Turns out it was just a 1 quart jar! Should I try to split it up into another jar and get the full amount of gin in? Or would it be ok with just half the gin?
Curious what you ended up doing Sarah! I am in a similar predicament….
Do you know if this could work by putting it in 2 smaller jars? I don’t have a large airtight jar. Let me know! looks delicious!
Do you think this would taste too delicious with lime? I seem to have ten left over from Cinco de Mayo.
this looks ah-mazing. i have a bottle of navy strength gin that i need to kill – this seems like the perfect way to do it!
i was wondering – does the cordial need to be tightly sealed when steeping? i have a pyrex container i can keep this in, but sadly only with a plastic lid. and is there any harm in storing this in a metal container (like a swell) once it’s fully ready? I don’t have a glass carafe but i do have an unused s’well that’s looking for a proper function…
I would keep it airtight (can’t alcohol evaporate) and avoid metal, even if it’s non-reactive, as a water bottle would be.
I have had rhubab a bunch of times, but for some reason, never thought about making it at home. After reading the article, I managed to make it. And it looks good so far. The thing is I don’t know if I can wait for a month. Can I just have it say in two weeks?
Looks delicious! Would lemon rind rather than orange work if that’s all one has at home?
I want to make this so so bad, I bought some gin and a big 2 liter jar to put it in. Now I cant find any effin’ Rhubarb!! I have checked several stores and none is in stock. My question is, when is rhubarb season (perhaps this is a silly question)?
I don’t know where you are but it’s now and for the next month or so in/near New York.
Listened to your Cherry Bombe podcast episode. Re: sourdough starter and discard, I only make enough so I never need to discard the starter (I use 90g in my loaf and I always have 30g left over every week) and I keep it in the fridge and feed 1x a week (I bake weekly).
In case you wanted to make sourdough without messing about with making discard crackers. :)
Thank you. Do you have to feed it before using it? And if so, doesn’t feeding involve pouring off some? (I’m trying to learn!)
Not Mona, but this is how I would do it with an established starter. Begin with 120 grams of starter, use 90 grams in the loaf, and put the other 30 grams in a jar. Add 30 grams of flour and 30 grams of water to the starter in the jar (which now contains 90 grams), and put it in the refrigerator for the week. The night before I planned to bake, I would take the starter out and “discard” 45 grams, then add 45 grams of flour and 45 grams of water to the jar (total 135 grams) and leave it unrefrigerated. Use the “discard” to make overnight waffle or pancake batter. The next morning, use 90 grams for your bread, and 30 of the remaining 45 grams to start the process over. It won’t be the most active starter ever, but I’m sure the bread will still be delicious, just may need to be a little patient.
Does the quality of the gin matter? I have a handle of Gordon’s in my freezer “for emergencies.” It’s quite dry and definitely cheap, but the only other gin I have (Barr Hill) is too good to be mixed with anything but tonic.
I struggle to get hold of rhubarb where I live but I’d love to make this. I drank rhubarb cordial on a hot day at by the river in Regensburg, outside a restaurant founded in the 12th century (to feed workers at the site of the nearby bridge), alongside a meal of sausages on warm sauerkraut with caraway-seed rolls. It’s only my second-favourite place to eat in Regensburg (1st place always and forever belongs to Dampfnudel Uli) but it’s pretty excellent. I wish I could get back there this summer! My boyfriend’s parents live a little south of there and we visit them every year. Anyway, a beautiful drink for a beautiful place.
This is a timely post! I’ve cut 4.5 lbs. of rhubarb already from my plant. I’ve made the Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake, and gave 2 lbs. of rhubarb to my family and still more coming. Just for fun I’m going to try this cordial. I just happened to have oranges, a 2 qt. Ball jar and a bottle of gin 1 cup shy, so I supplemented with Spiced Rum. We’ll see what happens! It’s an interesting way to use rhubarb!
I make a cocktail with the same flavors, but no waiting a month. Make a rhubarb simple syrup, then add gin, lemon and club soda or tonic water (I do a mix). Garnish with a strawberry or the cooked rhubarb. Same rhubarb flavor, and you can eat the rhubarb after.
I’m in the midst of making this (day 5, but who’s counting), and the rhubarb remains all the way at the top of the liquid. I only had a 1.5 Q jar, and everything just fit, so I can’t add any more gin, but even if I did, it wouldn’t change the degree of submersion. Will the fruit sink eventually, or does it not matter? I was so enchanted by your description that I immediately ordered the book (desperately need the fantasy travel to Paris right now), and I noticed that with some of the other infusions the fruit is supposed to be weighted down. I suppose I should just relax, and perhaps try another cocktail!
It will eventually sink.
Only a little of rhubarb actually sunk, but the cordial turned out amazing. It’s so beautiful and delicious. We like it best with a splash of tonic and a lime wedge. Making another batch since there is still rhubarb at the farmer’s market.
I have an enormous rhubarb bush but the stalks are green, not red. Will this just look/taste like pale green gin? I assume that the beautiful blush color of this cordial is really the star, not whatever flavor rhubarb imparts. Any suggestions?
It will not have the pretty color (and mine is very pale too because my rhubarb was very “preseason”) but it should otherwise be fine.
I just finished aging mine, made with green rhubarb, and poured some to drink. Not only is it delicious, I think the green color fits the vegetal flavor better than pink. (Or maybe I’m just sore that my enormous rhubarb plant is almost entirely green.) Anyway, I hope you went ahead with the green stuff because this is really tasty.
Have you ever tried to speed up the infusion process by putting in in a sous vide below the boiling point of alcohol? I’ve done this to make herbal bitters before but never tried with a fruit infusion – wondering if anyone has
Hey everybody who says they don’t like gin–my cordial has been sitting for 2 weeks, I tasted it today just to see how it’s coming, and it doesn’t taste at all like gin, just rhubarb! Can’t wait for the finished product.
WOW this tastes AMAZING. Dangerous for something so boozy to go down so easy. I let it sit 20 days so far. Tasted at 14 and today at 20 and to be honest, I don’t taste *much* difference so I think the shorter go of it would be fine. I used Prairie gin, and I think any mild gin like that is particularly suited to this task. For those wondering about the sinking–my rhubarb didn’t sink until day 16, lol. Mine is also MUCH pinker than Deb’s–maybe because I used blood orange rind? I also used a touch less sugar than she did, but I like my booze barely sweet. Regardless, it’s awesome.
Loving it in these applications:
– by itself, on ice
– stirred with a spoonful of Grand Marnier
– in a spritz with some sparkling wine
Can’t wait to try the boozy rhubarb compote Deb mentioned that David does post-brew. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.
Made mine two weeks ago and checked it today and noticed that it might be fermenting. The rhubarb is still floating and it appears to be a bit bubbly. We’ve had a heat wave the past few days (no central AC in my home in Northern CA) so maybe it’s gotten too warm? Can I salvage it if I put it in my fridge? That’s a lot of Hendricks gin that will go to waste if I toss it!
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My best friend lives on the West Coast of Ireland and brought me that same Dingle Gin! It is delicious! I have found that my local liquor store can get it for me from his distributor, too! Which is wonderful , because we won’t be going to Ireland this year :-(
This looks so delicious! I have been making elderflower cordial during lockdown so I will have to give this a try! Would love to see some more cordial recipes if you have some up your sleeve! – http://moneysonthemind.com
Delicious and intriguing!
What happens if this is stored at warm room temperature? My kitchen runs warm, too, but I don’t want to wait the extra few weeks you recommend adding on if you store in the fridge!
This recipe came at the perfect time as I’d just gotten a deal on a ton of rhubarb at the farmer’s market. I made this gin, and your rhubarb snacking cake (which was also *incredible*). After a very long (and historic!! #BLM) month, my gin was finally ready today! I eagerly made the cordial and it was amazing. So refreshing, I look forward to drinking it all summer. Highly recommend!
I made this a month ago, and strained it today. It was the most gorgeous dark pink color, and very very delicious. I was going to give some as a gift, but I think I’ll have to find more rhubarb for that, because we’re keeping this first batch. I made it as written (so easy) but also liked it served mixed with some white desert wine. I would go get the book like you recommended, but the last thing my 2020 needs us more delicious drinking options!
So easy and yummy! Perfect on a hot summer night.
Do you need to store the cordial in the fridge? Or outside still okay? And ideas on how to use the rhubarb? Mine just finished steeping, can’t wait to have it. Mine looks more amber than pink.
Holy moly this is delicious! We put a little mint in with some sparkling water. It’s also great on its own. I’ve already started another batch!
The recipe says grand marnier to serve, but in the description you add it to the cordial when bottling it. I’m sure it is great either way – but curious which one Lebovitz does. Thanks for another great recipe!
He has you add it when you bottle it, according to the book.
I made this cordial Spring of 2020…so easy. The hard part was finding fresh rhubarb! The two cocktail recipes in David’s book were fabulous…even the scotch and whiskey drinkers of the family enjoyed them. This year (2021) I tripled the recipe! The cordial is visually lovely too and made a nice Christmas gift with cocktail recipes attached. I highly recommend David Lebovitz’s book DRINKING FRENCH.
I started my jar on May 8th and just strained it today, July 2nd. It is DELICIOUS (tasted a bit last week, heh heh). An aside about floating vs sinking fruit in other comments: mine floated pretty much the whole time, only starting to sink this week. Anyhow, I’m glad I came here to check and see what to do with the boozy fruit…it is simmering with sugar on my stove as we speak. Thanks for a fabulous recipe, Deb/David!
Just wanted to come back and say the jam is delicious. Added a scoop of sugar & juice of one lemon. Simmered covered. Still pretty boozy and a bit dry (I reeeeaaally squeezed the rhubarb for max liqueur, lol) so added a bit of water and a few of last year’s raspberries (from freezer). Simmered til mush. SO GOOD!
Finally decanted ours that started out on May 15, strained on June 15, and then has “aged” with the grand marnier added since then. It’s delicious as a tall spritzer with seltzer and lime, but I couldn’t handle how sweet it is just on its own. Thoughts on how much one could get away with reducing the amount of sugar next time?
I just couldn’t toss the rhubarb after straining out the liqueur so I put it in a pot and stewed it with some water and coconut sugar to make a lovely dessert topping and “jam”. Great with ice cream and almond butter sandwiches. No waste. 👍
Sipping my first rhubarb cordial and tonic and it’s delightful! I also bought the book as soon as I read about it here and have been making many delicious cocktails and aperitifs. Yesterday I sampled my first cocktail with Lebovitz’s homemade creme de cacao recipe. I highly recommend the book.
I made two batches. First one “came of age” today after a month. Second one bottled today. A quick comparison of the two reveals that the first batch does indeed taste aged, a little less raw, than the second, but the difference is not huge and they’re both super tasty.
After bottling both batches, I whizzed the leftover rhubarb in my (pretty powerful) blender, then strained the pulp, pressing hard on the solids. Got a little more than a cup and a half of delicious liquid. It’s cloudy and not so pretty, so I don’t use it in the cordial, but as flavored gin in cocktails it is very good!
Any tips on what to do with the leftover rhubarb after it’s been used in the cordial? The cordial is delicious but makes me sad to throw out the rhubarb used.
I whizzed the leftover rhubarb in a blender, then strained it, pressing hard on the solids. I got a good amount of what is essentially flavored gin. It’s not very pretty, but it’s quite tasty.
i absolutely LOVED this.
we drank so quickly i want to make again, but rhubarb is no longer in season.
curious if you have suggestions on rhubarb substitutions now that we are mid-summer.
also, any harm in reducing the sugar a bit for my next go around?
I wanted to give you an update on how this recipe turned out for me. I come from a family of rhubarb-lovers, and I knew I’d have to try this recipe when you posted it. I am so impressed with how it turned out, this will be a yearly summer staple for sure! I followed the recipe exactly, and even let it age for a further few weeks after adding the Grand Marnier.
I used it in a cocktail yesterday that was fruity/floral/slightly sweet, just as I like them:
1.5oz rhubarb cordial
1 oz elderflower cordial (purchased)
shaken over ice, served in a cooled coupe glass, and topped with 1-1.5oz sparkling wine.
Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!
So I was reading the comments as one does and wondered why everyone thought it was too sweet until I noticed that the recipe actually calls for sugar that I never added because I absolutely didn’t see that ingredient *facepalm*. So I have made this with both vodka and gin, in the fridge each time and never added sugar and it’s absolutely lovely. I hope the sugar isn’t there to serve a purpose- like conservation or preventing super bugs from spreading in my drink- but taste wise you absolutely CAN skip it entirely and still get a lovely smooth result!
Hey, a little confused.
Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or triple sec supposed to be added to the rhubarb infused gin before it goes into the fridge, or just added to serve?
Either. If you want to keep it as pure rhubarb-gin, leave it out.
What type of gin would be recommended for this recipe, would just a regular dry gin like Beefeater be the best?
Yes, that’s what I used.
I’m on my second batch! 3L of it this time around…. for gifts for friends! Tastes like Rhubarb pie in a glass when topped with a bit of soda and an orange peel!
My question………. What have you all done with the left over Rhubarb?! i’m thinking of a ginny compote or something?
Yes, see my response here: https://smittenkitchen.com/2020/05/rhubarb-cordial/#comment-1551033
I made it in May, forgot about it, strained it in September I think, threw the triple sec in with it, and now I serve it in a cocktail with lemon or orange peel, Lillet Rose, and topped with a bit of tonic. Floral, not too sweet. Thanks for another good one, Deb.
Hi! I’m curious—what size Duralex glasses are you using in these photos? Thanks!
I have the gigone glasses in a tiny size (for, like, a single espresso shot), a middle size, and a larger one. I am 95% sure I’m using the middle size here.
I made this last summer and still have a bit leftover in the fridge. Do we think it would still be okay to drink?
Ooooh yes. It is definitely still good.
Hello! I’m curious about your Weck jar–is it a 2L jar? I haven’t been able to find one like it!
It’s this one and it’s 1 liter-sized.
I am going to start this today. I might even use Dingle as I am in Ireland. Or I might go more local than that and use Old Carrick Mill gin from just down the road in Monaghan. When you next make it back to Ireland, when this is all over, I highly recommend it!
How would this be with Bombay Sapphire gin? Would the aromatics be too much?
I think it would be okay, but you’ll definitely have more of a gin flavor.
Last spring, my neighbor asked me what I thought she should do with all her extra rhubarb. I was 7 months pregnant and remembered drooling longingly over this recipe, so directed her here.
My daughter arrived in late August and my neighbor presented me with my bottle — perfectly aged! Naturally, we rechristened it the RAMONA CORDIAL (my daughter’s name) and drank to motherhood and to my daughter’s health. I’ll brew this every spring and remember those hazy early days…
If you *can* wait for the full aging time I highly recommend it. It just keeps getting better and better!
Could you provide some insight for us on what you should watch out for if you’re steeping the cordial at room temp (vs. in the fridge)?
I made this last May, put it in my basement and forgot about it. (Blame it on my Covid brain). Just found it. Think it’s OK?
What a thrilling find, Tricia! With all that lovely gin acting as a preservative, I think you are good to go. In fact I bet it’ll be fabulous, but if you need a tester…:). (This makes me think of Poire William: the fruit in there is not cut, of course, but in every photo I’ve ever seen of a bottle of that stuff, the pear looks utterly perfect.)
This was wonderful. Is there any reason that the grand marnier should be added after the straining instead of at the beginning of the infusion?
I suppose there was a fear that it might just infuse the fruit and not the alcohol, but I’m not absolutely certain without checking with David L.
This cordial was so freaking good! I let it sit just about 3 weeks, because I wanted to bring it along with us on our trip to the Finger Lakes. Besides serving with a splash of club soda, we also drank it 50/50 with sparkling wine and it was divine! Now I can’t wait to grab another bunch of rhubarb.
This is so easy and delicious and your friends will think you’re a cocktail genius! The only hard part is waiting a month for it to be ready. I jumped the gun by about 5 days but it tasted great. I served mine with tonic water and then I enjoyed it with grapefruit seltzer. Both were great but I preferred the tonic.
Since this year has been the second year I’ve made this I needed to say that. This is the perfect drink – honestly. Yes you have to wait a month or so to get this perfect rhubarb infused gin but it is so worth it and just one advice: Make more than you think you want! Well you should like rhubarb but my boyfriend does not like rhubarb and he does not mind this drink :-) Already looking to rhubard season next year.
Tripled my batch over last year’s! Used it up 9 months after first bottling. Nervous this time as I don’t know what brand/type of gin I used for the first DELICIOUS batch.
It’s the tail end of winter here and I am dreaming of when rhubarb will be in season and finally when it’s summer and I can reap the fruits of a long 1-4 month wait. I have read some comments that suggest to allow the full 1-3 month aging. I plan to get my hands on the first crop of the season (early April here) and and age for two months after bottling so it’s ready to enjoy in early July, just in time for a beloved annual camp out that has been put on hold for the last two years.
I’m so prematurely excited about this that I spent the last half hour researching orange liqueurs. I don’t like super sweet cocktails and I was interested in seeing if there was an orange liqueur with less spice and vanilla notes and something a bit dryer/citrusy. This comment is mostly a reminder to myself come April to order Solerno blood orange liqueur. It sounds so perfect for this: “The nose bursts with whole-fruit blood orange, orange blossom and a hint of bright and zesty lemon. The palate yields a velvety sweetness, balancing tartness, and the full body of an 80 proof spirit with a long, dry finish.” Another reviewer deems that it’s “more complex than Cointreau and seems fresher than Grand Marnier.” Looking forward to brighter days and rhubarb/blood orange cordials…
I’ve made rhubarb gin before and one way to encourage the lovely pale pink colour is to add a small handful of red berries like raspberries or loganberries (mine were frozen) with the rhubarb.
I haven’t tried this one but LOVE David Lebovitz’s book so I’m looking forward to trying it! Thanks for posting it! This book is a “must buy”!!!!
Thanks so much for this, such a treat. I made it as written (except only a half recipe) and tasted it a month to the day later. It really tastes like rhubarb!
I appreciate the detailed information provided in this article, it has helped me understand the topic better.
I made two large batches of this delightful elixir last summer! Planning on doing it again this year. Thinking of a small test batch with fresh ginger. It’s like drinking summer.
I have a huge rhubarb plant in my garden, and usually I waffle over what to make first, but after having made this for the first time last summer, now there’s no contest. I made 2 batches last summer–the first I strained after a month, but the second, just due to traveling and other distractions, sat for closer to 3 months. The second batch may have been slightly more delicious than the first, but I don’t know if I have the patience to wait that long again!
A friend recommended having it with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic, and it’s a fabulous combo. I don’t want to drink it any other way now.
Can I use frozen rhubarb instead since it’s not in season?
Is it just me or is 830 ml way more than 3 1/2 cups??