Oh, those lazy, hazy hot days of summer! They sure can work up a thirst. One of the most refreshing summertime drinks in my repertoire is Rhubarb Cordial. Not only is it refreshing, but it is tasty and a very showy drink with its bright orange/red color.
Making Rhubarb Cordial is also another great way to use up rhubarb from the garden but make sure you pick the brightest red stalks as that is what gives this drink its superb color.
Making the concentrate for the Cordial is a bit time-consuming but the end result is worth the time and effort.
Here is what you will need to make the Cordial:
6 cups red rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 cups water
(This will yield about 5 cups of rhubarb juice)
1 cup sugar
1 – 295ml can frozen pink lemonade, thawed
juice of 1/2 pink grapefruit
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange
(These three citrus juices together will yield apx. 1/2 cup liquid)
Lemon-lime soda (or 7-Up, Sprite, or Gingerale)
Yield: Apx. 7 – 7 1/2 cups (depending on the water content of the rhubarb used as well as how much juice is extracted from the citrus fruits)
Cook rhubarb and water for apx. 15 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and mushy.
Strain rhubarb through a fine sieve into a large pot to extract the juice. Discard the rhubarb pulp. You should have about 5 cups of rhubarb juice from this process. I like to strain the juice a second time to refine it further and remove any traces of rhubarb pulp.
Squeeze and strain the grapefruit, lemon, and orange juices. Discard fruit pulp. Add the citrus juices to the rhubarb juice.
Stir sugar into rhubarb and citrus juice mixture. Heat over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Strain lemonade concentrate into the juice. Chill.
Pour into large pitcher if serving immediately or pour into sterilized bottles, seal, and freeze for later use.
Mason jars also make good containers in which to store the Rhubarb Cordial.
For individual servings, fill glass 1/3 full of chilled Rhubarb Cordial. Fill remaining 2/3 glass with chilled lemon-lime soda. Stir. Add ice cubes and a sprig of mint. Decorate glass with rhubarb curls if desired.
To make multiple servings, such as in a punch bowl, for example, follow the 1 part Rhubarb Cordial concentrate to 2 parts soda rule.
This is a great drink to sip on a warm, sunny day while sitting under the cover of the front verandah or on the back deck. It also makes a great picnic beverage as well.
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