It’s just about rhubarb season here!
Some folks are already harvesting theirs but for some reason the plants on our property always seem to be a few weeks behind everyone else’s—like, my lilac is just about to start blooming, but everyone else’s has already bloomed and the flowers have fallen off.
Using up rhubarb has always been a challenge for us. Last year we got 95 pounds and that wasn’t even all of it. Technically we don’t have rhubarb on our property, but both neighbours have it and neither wants it, so we get it. I harvested only one neighbour’s patch and did only one harvest to get that 95 pounds—if I’d done both patches and two harvests, I likely would have ended up with somewhere around 150 pounds.
For many people that sounds like heaven. For us, though… we don’t eat sweets very often, so we really have no desire for rhubarb crisps, rhubarb pies, or rhubarb jellies.
I’ve made a rhubarb-based barbecue sauce and a rhubarb relish that were both amazingly delicious, and I’ll likely feature those recipes here eventually. (I think I have enough leftover from last year to last us through this year, so that might be a next year project.)
The gin, though…
Venturing into rhubarb alcohol, I tried a few things—rhubarb wine (recipe coming eventually), rhubarb schnapps, rhubarb gin, and rhubarb ginger gin. All of them are delicious but by far rhubarb ginger gin is the most popular.
When I make a batch and end up with just over two litres of gin, it’s easy for that to be polished off in as little as two weeks. Everyone loves it.
It’s an incredibly versatile drink too. So far, I’ve had it the following ways:
- Straight-up, with or without ice
- Topped with just a splash of lemon juice for brightness and freshness (it really changes the drink)
- Mixed with Coke
- Or, if I’m feeling fancy, the Bee’s Knees Cocktail, which is the gin shaken with a splash of lemon juice in a shaker with ice and served in a glass rimmed with natural sugar and bee pollen (recipe coming eventually)
Making it couldn’t be easier.
You take a big jar (I use this jar, and though there’s no fermenting happening, I set up the airlock to keep it airtight)—and if you’re in a pinch, a large pitcher with a lid or with plastic wrap to cover it will work too—and throw in the gin, rhubarb, ginger, and sugar (all quantities listed in the recipe below). Give it a stir or a shake and let it sit on the counter out of direct sunlight for about four weeks. You’ll want to stir or shake it every once in a while to help the sugar dissolve, but it’ll do that on it’s own over the four weeks anyway—for the last batch, I completely neglected it and it was fine as always after four weeks.
Bottling it can be a bit difficult. I take a big two litre glass measuring cup and rest a wire mesh strainer on top, then carefully pour the contents of the jar into it. When the measuring cup is half full, I pour it into the bottles. I repeat this process till all the gin has been bottled.
It will be a bit cloudy, unfortunately, but it’s so tasty no one really cares. If presentation is important to you, you could likely run this through a coffee filter, or if you have a siphon for wine-making, you could transfer all the liquid to a new jar and let it settle for a day or two, then siphon it into bottles, leaving behind any sediment.
For bottles, I have grolsch bottles that I got from Ikea—these are the bottles with the flip top. They have them at Dollarama too, but the seal isn’t as nice, and I see them on Amazon sometimes, but I’m not sure of their quality as I’ve never purchased them. The ones at Ikea are really nice.
However, you can use whichever bottles you have on hand. If you’ve got some fancy antique bottles, use those. If you don’t care about the presentation, you could just re-use old gin bottles. Whatever you want to use is fine!
I’ll follow-up with a post later this summer on some ways to use the rhubarb ginger gin (basically describing the drinks in the bulleted list above), so watch for that post! I’ll try to remember to come back and update this post when I do that.
If you’re curious about this drink, I very highly recommend giving it a try—I’ve yet to come across someone that doesn’t care for it.
Rhubarb Ginger Gin
- 1 Glass Jar Ideally a gallon / four litre size.
- 2-3 Glass Bottles For bottling. (See notes.)
- 1.75 litres Gin (See notes.)
- 1 kg Rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
- 1 Ginger, about the size of your hand, chopped (See notes.)
- 400 g sugar
- In a large glass jar, combine gin, rhubarb, ginger, and sugar. Cover with a lid and let sit out of direct sunlight for four weeks. Stir with a clean spoon or shake jar occasionally to help the sugar dissolve (but it will do this on its own over time if you forget).
- After four weeks, strain and bottle.