Back in 2010 I tasted rhubarb lemonade for the first time. I ordered it at a cafe I used often go to for brunch with friends. Sadly, with three children, I don’t get out for brunch much at all now. But, since I enjoy entertaining, I have adapted to hosting brunch rather than going out for it.
This evening during a bit of Facebook chat with a fellow blogger about flavoured syrups, I remembered that I once made rhubarb syrup, the basis of rhubarb lemonade, myself. It was a bit of an ordeal, but it did taste great once it was made.
At the time I made the syrup, early Summer in 2011, I was approaching the end of my parental leave, much as I am now. Being at home, I had plenty of opportunity to take the time to follow lengthy recipes and try out new dishes from magazines.
I had a subscription to the German interiors magazine Living At Home [the actual name, not translated – I always think it sounds like a magazine for adults who are too broke to move out of their parents’ home, but it is actually a really good interiors magazine].
But anyway, to get back to the story, I found the recipes in Living At Home to be reliable, seasonal and very tasty. So when I saw their recipe for rhubarb syrup, I decided to give it a go. I did, I liked it and I kept the issue of the magazine.
I made a couple of small changes to the original recipe. Here is the one I used.
2kg fresh rhubarb
80g fresh ginger
At least 250g sugar
1 – 2 screw top glass bottles (500ml-1L in volume)
Wash and strip the rhubarb, then chop it into pieces as you would for a tart.
Strip the rind off two of the oranges then squeeze the juice from all four oranges.
Peel and dice the ginger finely.
Place the rhubarb, orange rind, orange juice, sugar and water into a saucepan and simmer until the rhubarb is cooked through and falling apart. The sugar should be dissolved entirely.
Strain the rhubarb mixture into a bowl using a fine sieve. You may need to do this twice or strain it through a fine muslin to remove all the rhubarb fibres.
Wash the saucepan and return the liquid to it. Bring to the boil and reduce to approx 750ml.
When I made this, I found it too sour for my liking. That could just be my taste buds or it could be the rhubarb I used. Either way, the easiest way to sweeten it up is to add a little more sugar, let it dissolve into the syrup and then taste again. Remember though that the syrup will taste sweeter cool than hot. The syrupy consistency will also be more obvious when the liquid has cooled, so don’t worry if the syrup appears to be a bit watery.
Fill into the clean glass bottles immediately and screw the tops on. Leave to cool completely before using in cocktails or mixed with sparkling water, tonic water or lemonade for a refreshingly different drink.