Rhubarb Cordial

By • April 27, 2011 78 Comments

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Author Notes: If I ever had a signature fruit, rhubarb is mine, tart and sweet but mostly tart, in a good way. And forget about adding strawberries. My signature fruit doesn’t need more than a bit of sugar and a liter of vodka to find its way to agreeableness. I make barrels of this cordial every spring, and give it away throughout the year.eatboutique

Food52 Review: WHO: eatboutique is the woman behind eatboutique.com and lives in New England.
WHAT: The best way to savor the season -- and preserve it for later.
HOW: Throw some chopped rhubarb and sugar in a jar, cover with vodka, and let it sit for a month.
WHY WE LOVE IT: By taking just a few minutes to throw 3 ingredients in a jar, you can make rhubarb season stretch a little bit longer -- and a killer after-dinner drink while you're at it. We also see this mixed with sparkling water (or sparkling wine!) and sipped by the pool.
The Editors

Makes 1 liter

  • 2 pounds rhubarb, cleaned and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 liter good vodka, local and organic are a plus
  1. Place rhubarb pieces in a large clean glass jar.
  2. Pour sugar on top of rhubarb.
  3. Pour vodka into jar and stir all ingredients together.
  4. Let this concoction sit for 1 month, stirring every so often to help break down the sugar and the fruit.
  5. At the 1 month point, the sugar will have dissolved completely. Strain out the rhubarb.
  6. Store in the same large glass jar or in smaller pretty jars. I sometimes use little medicine jars.
  7. Serve ice cold at the end of the meal, or in a flute with a bit of champagne.
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Comments (78) Questions (3)

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5 days ago Alexandra

My brother gave me some of the batch he made last year and it was so good. I just made a batch of my own this evening and can't wait to try it! I love it with spicy ginger beer (Goya is my favorite), a couple frozen strawberries, and ice.

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about 1 month ago Jennifer Allen 2

I actually prefer this without the sugar. Use Devils Spring vodka which is 160 proof and really draws out the essence of the fruit. Have made it many times and with all different fruit combinations. Cranberry lime is one of my favorites too.

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about 1 month ago ingefaer

I just made my third batch! I have given away the finished product and I have given away the recipe - last time was yesterday when a woman at the store asked me what I was going to do with all the rhubarb!
I love the stuff and I adore rhubarb.
Thanks for the recipe.

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5 months ago Ann Holliday

I found the flasks at Sur la table, surlatable.com, for $6 each for an 8 oz. They are also available at bottles.com. Search for flasks. Some have fold over metal closures and they are also available with corks.

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about 1 month ago Ann Holliday

Found the flasks at Crate and Barrel for $3.95. http://www.crateandbarrel...

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12 months ago Tami Wenzel Riggenbach

If you double or triple this is it best to make it in individual jars or can it be done all in one jar?

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12 months ago eatboutique

I double or triple it in the same large jar with great results!

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about 1 year ago S B

This is the second year I have happily made this special cordial. Love it mixed with sparkling mineral water for the pure, very rhubarb-y flavor...just delicious. Also made this in the winter with cranberries...oh my! Thanks so much for this amazing recipe.

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12 months ago eatboutique

Anytime S B! xo

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about 1 year ago Sarahjane Robertson

If you make this and share it, plan on making more. Add some strawberry seltzer to the cordial and you have a strawberry rhubarb pie cocktail. Delicious and refreshing.

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12 months ago eatboutique

That sounds wonderful!

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about 1 year ago Bunnie1

Is it sweet?

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12 months ago eatboutique

Yes, it's sweet and tart. :)

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about 1 year ago KLD1967

I made something similar to this last year. I live in Southern Ontario and we are the home of ice wine. I used a product called Vice, which is a vodka ice wine, some Grand Marnier and then I made a simple syrup and put it all, with the rhubarb, in mason jars in the pantry for a month. This was one of the best things I have ever made.

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over 1 year ago Ljone

I too would like to know the maker of the bottle & cork used in the photo. Thank you.

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almost 2 years ago healthierkitchen

I'm thinking to do this with raspberries - reduce the sugar? thanks!

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almost 2 years ago EvieS

Sounds absolutely delicious. Found your recipe too late in the year for my rhubarb patch but will try next season. I do have blackcurrants right now though so I'm thinking maybe .... Have managed to keep the birds off this year.

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almost 2 years ago Chris Oliver

Does it need to be refrigerated while they're getting to know each other, or is counter space sufficient?

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almost 2 years ago Chris Oliver

Never mind. Saw the question and answer.

While I have you, though, who makes that corked bottle?

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almost 2 years ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

I did at room temp, turned out sooo well!

eatboutique-- I gave it as a bday gift & also brought some back to the farmer-of-rhubarb; very well-received all-around! Have a currant one going right now. Inspired :)

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almost 2 years ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

I believe it's Weck.

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almost 2 years ago Chris Oliver

From what I can find, Weck definitely makes the small drinking jar, but not the bottle.

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almost 2 years ago eatboutique

Yum, Rebecca - I love currant cordial. I also make currant vinegar...

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over 1 year ago eatboutique

YUM!

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almost 2 years ago Malena

can this be made with frozen rhubarb?

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almost 2 years ago eatboutique

I've never made it with frozen rhubarb but I would definitely give it a shot. I've made syrups with frozen rhubarb and would be very curious as to how this cordial turns out with it.

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about 2 years ago Jennifer Allen 2

If you used grain alcohol instead of vodka. would you add water?

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almost 2 years ago eatboutique

Hi Jennifer, I've never made it with grain alcohol but I don't think I'd add water -- I may increase the sugar - let us know how it turns out! xox

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about 2 years ago kfles

This is a great recipe. I just had my first cocktail last night after the long wait and it was fantastic! Any ideas for how to use the spent rhubarb? Mine has retained its firmness quite well and I don't want to waste it if it has a chance at a second life.

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about 2 years ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

just set this up.... it's going to be a long month! can't wait

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

Sometimes I sneak a taste before the month is up! ;-)

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about 2 years ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

sounds like a plan. rhubarb vendor at nyc greenmarket asked what i was doing w it... i offered to bring a sample and he made me promise :)

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about 2 years ago QueenOfGreen

Amanda / Merrill - where did you get your lovely glass bottle from? Making up a batch at the moment - thank you EatBoutique!

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about 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Giant jar sitting on the counter taunting me. How will I wait? Thanks, Maggie!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

... Wait for me! Thanks Cathy. xox (I have a cousin who likes to say that she's taking in her required daily veggie serving with this drink)

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about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congrats on the Wildcard! Very well deserved. Rhubarb cordial is delicious!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

yay, thank you!

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about 2 years ago Bevi

Lovely cordial!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

It's lovely because James takes such wonderful photos. xox :)

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Gorgeous color,brilliant idea, congratulations on the Wildcard!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

Merci - thanks so much! xox

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about 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congrats on the wildcard! It looks great!!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

James is an amazing photographer! xox

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about 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

He is. If he ever gives a class, I'm signing up.

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about 2 years ago healthierkitchen

this looks lovely! How long can it keep? Is the relatively indefinite lifetime of vodka is reduced by the introduction of fruit?

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

I've kept mine quite beautifully 12 months or even longer!

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about 2 years ago Jaynerly

Yay! Congrats on the wildcard win!

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

Thanks so much! So delighted b/c I love this recipe. :)

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about 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Gorgeous recipe! And photos to boot. I have 5 sticks of rhubarb......, it doesnt grow where I live and these are 'spoils' from a recent UK trip. I'll make some with 2 sticks :-). Thank you!!! And congrats on the win.

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

Thanks so much - so sweet of you. I'm trying to pull sticks from local friends. :)

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about 2 years ago dymnyno

I love making my own cordials, like French 44, Limoncello and Nocino, usually using vodka as the alcohol base. I made a rhubarb cordial like yours last year. I thought it would be wonderful to use some moonshine that a friend in Tennessee sent me but the high alcohol eventually obliterated the sweet rhubarb taste and aroma.

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

Good to know and thanks so much for commenting. I love love love homemade limoncello as well. :)

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about 2 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Really interesting, dymnyno (and eatboutique!). My usual technique is extraction in high alcohol neutral spirit rather than vodka, then dilution and mellowing after addition of water and sugar. As part of the FOOD52 Piglet book competition, I found that Magnus Nilsson, astonishing Swedish restaurant owner and author, prefers vodka and very short extraction times in vodka. I'd love to experiment further but just can't drink fast enough to do the controls!

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about 2 years ago dymnyno

Ahh...I understand your problem. As a vintner, I am always in training!

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about 3 years ago Choirbell

I can hardly wait to make some of this cordial. I love making apricot brandy from my parents dried apricots and cranberry cordial. So this will make a great addition to my homemade alcoholic drinks.

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about 2 years ago eatboutique

I'd love to see your apricot brandy recipe! xox

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over 3 years ago Jaynerly

I made this, just tasted it and love it!! Thanks for the recipe!

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over 3 years ago eatboutique

I am so glad you liked it! :-)

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about 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This looks wonderful! Whenever I think of cordial I think of raspberry cordial and Anne of Green Gables, but this looks even better! And, I'm so with you on not adding strawberries to your rhubarb. Keep it pure! :)

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

Thanks fiveandspice! Pure is best!

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about 4 years ago wssmom

Let it sit for a MONTH?! How can you stand the wait for something that sounds so delish?! :)

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

I know, I know. It's slightly annoying. Typically I have a few bits from last year's rhubarb cordials sitting around to enjoy while I wait for the new batch. This year, I found I had given it all away! But I've started three large 4-liter jars -- and the first will be ready any day now... :-)

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about 4 years ago Happyolks

This looks fantastic! I've never made a homemade liquor before and this seems like a perfect place to start. I can't wait to try this. If nothing else, I will certainly remember you for this! So glad I found your blog through this, it's adorable!

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

It almost feels too easy to be a recipe. I do it with all sorts of fruits but rhubarb takes well to it (so do kumquats). Whenever I have guests, they get a kick out of having champagne with a "vegetable" - technically, rhubarb is a veggie. Thanks for finding me! I'm going through your recipes - loving them!

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about 4 years ago Bevi

This is just the best. And there is nothing like a beautiful Weck jar.....

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

Don't you love Weck, Bevi? I buy them by the case...

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about 4 years ago Bevi

Weck makes everything look more beautiful and appetizing - not that your cordial needs any help!

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about 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This is beautiful. It's added to my list of homemade liqueurs to make (with elderflower and green walnut.)

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

J'adore elderflower liquor...

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about 2 years ago Rebecca Vitale

Rebecca is a Recipe Tester for Food52

where do you get green walnuts? sounds great!

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about 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Beautiful, Maggie!

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

Thanks, Jennifer. I feel so out of the food52 loop this year but this contest just kinda called out to me... :-)

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about 4 years ago dymnyno

I just finished making a batch...I added some blood orange zest for a little more flavor and color.(actually, it ended up the color of Hawaiin Punch!)

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

I can't wait to hear how delicious that is going to be... I love the color.

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about 4 years ago lapadia

I love rhubarb & vodka, never thought to do this, have some in the garden...now, will have to try. I usually make a rosemary-rhubarb lemonade...bet vodka would be good in that, too!

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

I love rhubarb and rosemary together too. I make a simple syrup of rhubarb, rosemary and a touch of vanilla for spring cocktails too. :)

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about 4 years ago Midge

What a stunning photo. I've got some rhubarb vodka infusing right now!

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about 4 years ago eatboutique

Isn't it the best? Mmm...