Rhubarb can have a fleeting flavour which is mild and often masked easily by others. One of the best ways to get the pure rhubarb flavour out of this lovely fruit is to make a homemade rhubarb gin. This really captures the pure rhubarb flavour and will take all of your cocktails to the next level! It’s also an amazing way to use up excess rhubarb (if you have a rhubarb plant, you know what I’m talking about) or to use up odds and ends of rhubarb from cooking/baking with it.
Using rhubarb off-cuts & scraps to make rhubarb gin
You’ll probably notice that the jars are significantly fuller at this 3 week stage than they had been when I started! This is because I had been recipe testing/cooking with rhubarb during those two weeks and often ended up with rhubarb offcuts from the ends of stems etc. I had been chucking those offcuts into the jar as well, compensating with a bit more gin and sugar to keep the ratios the same! It’s a great way to use up scraps of fruit to reduce your waste (and make something DELICIOUS at the same time).
What type of gin should I use?
As the flavour of rhubarb can be overpowered quite easily, I honestly think a cheap-ish supermarket own-brand gin is the way to go. Usually this type of gin doesn’t have a bunch of flavour which makes it perfect for infusing!
How long should it infuse for?
I think generally it’s best to leave the rhubarb gin for 2-3 weeks to really get all the flavour out of it. At this point, the chunks of rhubarb should have lost all their colour and the gin itself should be pink. You can taste it earlier on and see if the flavour is strong enough before the 2-week point, if you need to!
Rhubarb Gin Recipe
- 500 g rhubarb stalks rinsed & dried
- 50 g granulated or caster sugar
- 700 ml (70cl) gin ideally one with a mild flavour
Flavour variations (pick one!):
- 30 g fresh ginger rinsed & dried
- 10 pods green cardamom bashed
- 3 strips orange zest or lemon zest
- 300 g strawberries hulled, rinsed, dried & sliced
Sterilise one large or two medium jars:
- Wash the jars and their lids thoroughly with hot, soapy water and rinse off the suds. Remove any rubber seals from the jars. Place the jars upside down onto a baking tray and dry in a hot oven at 180°C (350°F) for 5-10 minutes, until no longer wet.
Combine the ingredients:
- Trim off and discard any bruised ends of the rhubarb. Cut the rhubarb stalks into 3 to 5 cm lengths and add to your sterilised jar(s).500 g rhubarb stalks
- Add the sugar and gin (divide these equally between the jars if using two). Seal with the lid (remember to put the rubber seal back on the lid, if your jar has one). Shake gently to combine.50 g granulated or caster sugar, 700 ml (70cl) gin
- Leave for 2-3 weeks to infuse, gently shaking the jars every few days to help with the infusion process. After this is done, strain out the solids, catching the gin in a bowl or jug. Transfer the infused gin to a clean, dry glass bottle (with a label) for prolonged storage.
Flavour Variations: Ginger or Cardamom or Orange or Lemon
- Add the fresh ginger OR cardamom OR zest to the jar along with the rhubarb and allow to infuse for 3-5 days (taste the gin to see how strong the flavour of is to decide when to remove the extra ingredients). Remove the ginger/cardamom/zest but leave the rhubarb in there. Continue to infuse for the remaining 2-3 weeks before straining the rhubarb out as usual.30 g fresh ginger, 10 pods green cardamom, 3 strips orange zest or lemon zest
Flavour Variation: Strawberry
- Add the sliced strawberries to the jar along with the rhubarb and leave to infuse for the full 2-3 weeks before straining out the solids as usual.300 g strawberries
What mixer is good with rhubarb gin?
The obvious place to start is with a gin & tonic. The rhubarb gin is slightly acidic (and very lightly sweetened) so you may need to add a bit more tonic than you usually would to a plain G&T, however that’s up to your own taste to judge. I love the combination of rhubarb and grapefruit or orange, so it’s also nice to change the lime in your G&T for a wedge of grapefruit/orange instead.
As rhubarb and ginger work so nicely together, a great idea is to combine rhubarb gin with gingerale. Serve with a wedge of lime, lemon, orange or grapefruit.
This is going to depend on what flavour of kombucha you’ve got as obviously some flavours might clash. However, if you have a kombucha flavoured with ginger, strawberry, lemon, orange or even a ‘plain’ kombucha, these will all work deliciously with your rhubarb gin.
What drinks & cocktails can I make with rhubarb gin?
Now we’ve covered gin & tonics and the like, we can move onto slightly more complex cocktails
An incredible cocktail I’ve made is a Rhubarb Sour using sweetened rhubarb puree, rhubarb gin, lemon juice & aquafaba. I’ll be posting the recipe for that soon and will link it here when I do!
Something else I want to try is a play on a Margarita, made with this gin instead of tequila (I mean.. I also want to try infusing tequila with rhubarb but that’s for another time!). For this, I think it would be great to make a standard margarita (usually lime juice, tequila and cointreau) but sub the tequila for this rhubarb gin.
One more suggestion I think would be lovely is a Rhubarb French 75. This is a champagne cocktail usually made with a lemon syrup, gin and champagne (I actually prefer it with prosecco but it’s up to you). I think it would be great to make using this rhubarb gin in place of a plain gin. As rhubarb & lemon work nicely together I think the lemon syrup would work well, but you could also replace the lemon syrup with a rhubarb syrup for extra flavour and colour.
There are so many gin cocktails out there that I’m sure you could come up with hundreds of delicious cocktails using this rhubarb gin! (If you have any faves that you try out, please do let me know!).
How to make rhubarb gin flavour variations
Rhubarb pairs so well with certain flavours and you can certainly include different ingredients in your rhubarb gin infusion to make delicious, complex liqueurs. Here are some suggestions:
Rhubarb & Ginger Gin
Add a slice of fresh root ginger to the infusion. Leave in there for 3-5 days before removing the ginger – taste the gin to tell when the ginger flavour is strong enough. As ginger is a powerful flavour (much more so than rhubarb), you don’t want it to completely overwhelm the fruit.
Rhubarb & Orange (or Lemon) Gin
Add a few strips of orange zest or lemon zest to the infusion. Be careful to not have too much of the white pith on the zest strips as the pith can impart a bitter flavour! After 3-5 days you can remove the zest, leaving the rhubarb in there to keep infusing. Again, use your judgement to tell when is best to remove the zest by tasting the gin.
Rhubarb & Cardamom Gin
Add a 10 pods of bashed cardamom (dont crush the seeds, just bash the whole pods to get them to open up a bit) to the infusion for 3-5 days. As above, taste to see when the cardamom flavour is strong enough, then remove from the infusion.
Rhubarb & Strawberry Gin
Add 300g of hulled, sliced strawberries to the gin along with the rhubarb. Leave in the jar for the entire 2-3 week infusion, straining them out along with the rhubarb.