Rhubarb infused gin is the quintessential flavour (and colour) of spring in Ontario. Enjoying the delights of a home-grown harvest of rhubarb in May and June is one of those joys that makes us look forward to the warmer months ahead. Its not-too-sweet, not-too-bitter flavour profile is a perfect pairing for many London Dry Gin labels on the current market. A rhubarb G&T is a perfect way of enjoying the end of each day. And why buy one of those over-priced pink gins from the LCBO when it’s so easy to make your own!
I have explored a few ways of integrating the rhubarb flavour into my G&T’s, but the technique I like the most is maceration, i.e., infusion the colour and flavour of rhubarb.
This year I decided to amp up the flavours (and colours) a bit by adding in some steeping time on dried hibiscus flowers. This adds an extra flavour dimension to the finished product and also deepens its pink colour. You may want to stick with rhubarb only – adding hibiscus is optional. - Ashley Gibson
Equipment: Two 1-quart Mason jars with lids
- 1x 1.14L bottle Beefeater London Dry Gin (or another gin with a similar aromatic profile – I find Beefeater works really well and it’s reasonably priced)
- 3-4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
- 2 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers (optional)
Patience is the name of the game. We want to macerate the rhubarb in the gin over a 1+ week period. I have previously allowed it to settle for up to 6 weeks to maximize the rhubarb flavour infusion into the base gin, but 1 week is my recommended minimum.
- Divide the chopped rhubarb and the bottle of gin into the two Mason jars. Close the lids and store in a cool, dark place.
- Once a day give the jars a shake to stir up the rhubarb and promote the flavour/colour transfer.
- After 7 days you should see a beautiful soft pink colour in your gin. This is the time you can drain off the liquid from the solids.
- Slowly pour the jar contents into a vessel over a sieve covered with several layers of cheese cloth (a paper drip coffee filter also works) to catch the fine solids. Giving the chopped rhubarb a squeeze between your hands will aid the flavour extraction process.
- At this stage you can either bottle your rhubarb-infused gin and keep it in the refrigerator until ready for use, or your can proceed to the next step of adding a secondary infusion of hibiscus flowers.
- Return the rhubarb-infused gin to the Mason jars. Add approx. 1 tablespoon of hibiscus flowers to each Mason jar and allow to steep for 24 hours. (Additional steeping time, and more hibiscus flowers, will deepen the colour and flavour contribution – this is where personal choice comes in).
- After your desired steeping time, drain off the hibiscus flowers and pour the contents into 2x 750 mL clean bottles. Store in the refrigerator until use.
- You will find that your end product contains some rhubarb juice, so it will come out at about 33% ABV – very refreshing in a G&T! It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 6 months.