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Rhubarb Gin & Infusions

Rhubarb, Leaves, Rhubarb Cocktail, Infusion

HISTORY OF RHUBARB

Rhubarb originated from Asia, reaching Europe (in the ports of Turkey) via the Silk Road in the early 14th Century. Back then, it was valued more than Opium, Saffron and Cinnamon due to its medicinal properties. It arrived in the United Kingdom in 18th Century.

GROWING SEASON

Rhubarb should be picked between April and September. If you are growing your own, ensure to cut the leaves off, as they are highly toxic due to their oxalic acid content.

STORAGE

Once picked it can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

HOME MADE INFUSIONS

Alcohol is a great way to extract flavours, aromas and colours from fruits, vegetables and berries. Whilst creating flavoured alcohols can be a fun project at home, it has now become a huge business in the beverage industry.  Many distilleries now create their own flavoured spirits to reflect their local terroir across the seasons.

Flavours that work well with Rhubarb are orange, lemon, ginger, strawberry, pear, apple, vanilla and nuts.

RHUBARB INFUSED GIN – COLD PROCESS (MACERATION)

The most common and popular process is where the rhubarb is macerated with your chosen gin for four weeks. Be aware that air in the jar could the rhubarb could oxidise browning the gin and affecting the flavour profile. The flavour profile will be lighter, brighter and fresher in flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 1L of gin
  • 5kg of Rhubarb
  • 5kg of caster sugar

Method:

  • Remove the leaves, wash and trim the rhubarb stalks.
  • Chop the stalk up into smaller pieces and place them in a large jar with the sugar.
  • Seal the lid and give the rhubarb and sugar a good shake to thoroughly combine.
  • After 24hrs, the sugar will have drawn out a lot of juice from the rhubarb. Add the gin, seal the jar, and give it another good shake. Leave for 4 weeks shaking every three days.
  • After four weeks, the rhubarb gin is ready and will have a beautiful pink colour
  • Strain your gin through a muslin cloth.
  • The leftover rhubarb pieces can be used to make compote.
  • Decant your Rhubarb gin into a sterilized glass bottle and enjoy.

RHUBARB INFUSED GIN – HOT PROCESS (BLENDING)

This process works very well with rhubarb but may not work with other hedgerow fruit. In using heat, you will release pectin, which will make the syrup thick and rich in flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 1L of gin
  • 5kg of Rhubarb
  • 5kg of caster sugar
  • Squeeze half lemon
  • 50ml water

Method:

  • Remove the leaves, wash and trim the rhubarb stalks.
  • Chop the stalk up into smaller pieces and place into a pan with the sugar and water.
  • Heat the fruit and stir it, allowing it to break down.
  • As it breaks down add the lemon juice.
  • Once fully broken down, put the mixture through a fine sieve extracting the juice.
  • Add the juice to your gin, ensuring it blends.
  • The remaining rhubarb solids can be used in a crumble.

You can also make wonderful bitters out of Rhubarb but that is for another time!

 

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