Pretty in pink rhubarb gin. Home made for filling up glasses all summer long and topping up prosecco flutes in winter. And sharing with friends and family. There is something special to me about home made tipple. Perhaps it’s the memories it brings of home made wine that Mum and Dad used to produce from the glut of our orchard’s fruit. Or my uncle’s wild rose wine – its taste I can still remember to this day together with his generous smile. I think it’s pretty special to make and share homemade gifts, whether it’s a batch of cookies, a tin of marshmallows or a bag of still warm pretzels. Or a bottle of pink rhubarb gin. Few things give me a greater pleasure than sharing.
This is a recipe based on a River Cottage one but adjusted to my taste. I like it less sweet than the original calls for so that the acidity of rhubarb really shines whilst still being balanced by enough sweetness. And most importantly it’s gin, gin, gin all the way! Those who know me won’t be surprised to find me including my favourite alcohol on my blog. I’ve always loved gin, long before everyone jumped on the bandwagon and it’s definitely a tipple of my choice.
The rhubarb gin is best made with early forced rhubarb as that’s what gives it its glorious pink hues. You know, those pretty almost reddish stalks produced in Yorkshire and available from late February really are very special. Summer rhubarb works too as long as you are using the really pink bottom section of the stems as otherwise you will end up with a yellowish shade of gin… I like my pink, almost coral in depth and so await patiently each year Yorkshire rhubarb’s arrival. So very pretty.
I also use golden caster sugar for almost a vanilla like tasting notes. Sometimes I also add sliced ginger to the mix as rhubarb and ginger are one of my favourite combos.
On a separate hint, just like cooking with wine, I’d rather stick to something of a reasonable quality as I wouldn’t want to ruin its taste. This is of course down to everyone’s personal preference. Here is the recipe.
900 grams of fresh rhubarb stalks, cleaned and rinsed
650 grams of golden caster sugar
1000 ml of gin
A large preserving glass jar
Bottles for the gin
You will also need a large jug, a sieve, a maslin cloth and a funnel
Wash and sterilise the jar in readiness. Allow it to cool completely.
Once the jar is cool, chop up the rhubarb stalks into 4 cm lengths. Layer the rhubarb in the jar and top up with sugar. You might find it easier to do this in turns however I just pour the sugar over the fruit and give it a quick shake. Top up with the alcohol. Seal the jar and give it a thorough shake so that most of the sugar dissolves.
Now it’s time to place the jar somewhere cool and dark – I keep mine in the fridge. You will need to give the gin a shake on a daily basis to ensure the sugar doesn’t settle at the bottom of the jar. It will take a week or so for the sugar to fully dissolve. Once you reach that stage, it’s fine to leave the rhubarb to steep undisturbed for approximately 2 months but no more than 3 as otherwise it will become bitter.
Once the time is up to remove the stalks, sterilise the bottles you intent on storing your rhubarb gin in. Do the same with a large jug and a funnel (if using). Allow them to cool.
Place the sieve lined with the maslin cloth over the jug. Gently pour in the contents of the jar, stalks and all. Allow it to drain but don’t push the fruit as you will make the gin cloudy.
Let it to run through before removing the sieve and either pouring the gin straight from the jug into the bottles if you have a steady hand, or by using the funnel. Once bottled, the gin is ready for serving.
Serve it neat over ice for a real rhubarb hit. Or top it up with prosecco for a pink delight.
Drink it with premium tonic water. Or on a hot summer’s afternoon, top it up with premium ginger ale, sit back and enjoy. However you take it, hope you like it as much as we do.
A word of warning – one jar is never enough! You have been warned…